PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
Depression: Helping A Friend

If you have a friend who's been acting sad for a long time or been distant or grouchy and wants to be alone, you should look for more of the Signs and Symptoms of major depression and Manic Depression.

If you think your friend might be clinically depressed, you can help by listening whenever he or she wants to talk about it. It can be hard to be around someone who's always bummed out. Many people react to this by staying away or being harsh, but try to avoid telling her to snap out of it or getting angry that she's not as fun as she used to be. If you have a friend who acts like she wants to be left alone, or is withdrawing from things, it's natural to think, "Okay, if that's what she wants-" Try to get past feelings like this to reach out to someone who may desperately need your help.

Here are some things to say that might break the ice:

  • "I'm really worried about you. Will you admit that you're deeply sad and can't snap out of it?"

  • "I don't want you to feel this way anymore, and I know how you can start to get better. Will you let me help?"

  • "Can we go to the school counselor together and talk to him/her about how you've been feeling? It can't hurt to just go and hear what he/she has to say."
So, what happens if your friend totally doesn't want help? You may not want to butt in or be a tattle-tale, but the bottom line is that your friend's depression could be dangerous. It's important that you tell a trusted adult, like a school counselor or social worker, about what's been going on. Let this person contact your friend's parents or guardian, and take things from there.

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