artphoto by splunge
artphoto by TheophileEscargot
artphoto by Kronos_to_Earth
artphoto by ethylene





Mecha Wiki

Metachat Eye


IRC Channels



Comment Feed:


04 September 2009

Ask MeCha: Helping a depressed friend who lives 7000 miles away. I live in the United States. My best friend lives on another continent.[More:]

He's pretty depressed right now, he lives by himself, and I spent the better part of last night trying to help him think through the various things going on in his mind. His family - what little of it that exists, since he's in his early 20s and is in the unenviable position of having two dead parents and apparently the rest of his family is old and dropping like flies - has been entirely unsupportive. He's depressed about - well, a lot of things.

Short of getting him to come over here for a little while, which is logistically impossible until next summer, what little things might I do? I know I can't help him like a therapist can; I know my boundaries there. Ultimately, he's going to have to pull himself out of his depression himself. But what can I do to be supportive from far away?

just be there for him , and encourage him to find professional help . theres not much more you can do
posted by rollick 04 September | 10:30
You've probably already given him the common askme advice for depression: exercise, eat and sleep as healthy as possible, sunlight, fish-oil, The Feel Good Handbook, etc.

Does he live in a culture that is understanding of depression?

Is his depression centered around something like employment, family or relationship problems? Or does it seem independent of those things?

If you think he may be suicidal at all try to get him to seek help (obviously).
posted by DarkForest 04 September | 12:16
It might be worthwhile to ask him what things help, and to encourage or somehow make it easier for him to do those things. While everyone has their own advice and ideas on what helps, it's sometimes most helpful to (a) point out what people are already doing that works, and (b) tell them to stick with it. Plus, people are more likely to do something they're already doing, especially when they're stressed/depressed, rather than adding a new thing to their repertoire.

And truthfully, sometimes just asking someone what they're doing that helps can make them realize that they have some existing strengths. Even if it's just "I can open a can of soup tonight and eat that."

Something else that they taught us when I was doing training for an AIDS/HIV hotline was that when we were talking with people who seemed really upset, to let them vent and help them process their feelings, and then, when things were winding down, to shift to ask, "What are some things you can do for yourself after we hang up to make you feel better?" It sometimes feels a little hokey to ask, but, again, I think it helps shift people into self-care mode and into realizing that they are capable of doing things to help themselves, even if they're small.
posted by occhiblu 04 September | 20:58
I should clarify: On the "What are some things you can do for yourself after we hang up to make you feel better?" question, I'm talking about things like making a cup of tea or taking a hot bath or curling up with a book or something -- small, easily-accomplishable things that don't feel overwhelming, that feel like nice luxuries rather than big-awful-"shoulds".
posted by occhiblu 04 September | 21:00
This is vaguely disturbing. || Randy Pausch's Last Lecture: