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tidewaterreview.com

How to deal with person suffering from depression

Straight-forward questions, listening without judging recommended

August 15, 2012

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What to do

As an example of mental health first aid, the following steps are recommended when a person appears to be suffering from depression and could be at risk of hurting or killing himself:

• Approach the person in a space comfortable to both of you and express your concerns.

• If you see the person threatening to hurt himself, talking of death or hopelessness, being agitated or engaging in risky behavior, among other warning signs, tell him what you're observing.

• Directly ask about suicide. Ask, "Are you having thoughts of suicide? Are you thinking about killing yourself?"

• It's not true that talking about it plants the idea or means the person isn't serious.

• If the risk is imminent, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK.

• If you believe the person is not in a crisis, ask how he is feeling and how long he's felt this way. Listen nonjudgmentally; do not offer advice and do not interrupt.

• Offer reassurance that with time and treatment, he will feel better. Do not trivialize feelings or try to fix the depression.

• Offer options on how to manage feelings, being encouraging about seeking professional help. If appropriate, offer to assist in finding a health provider.

Source: "Mental Health First Aid USA"