A Raider’s View: Sign of suicide, depression

A famous poet by the name of Langston Hughes once wrote, “I went down to the river / I set down on the bank / I tried to think but couldn’t / So I jumped in and sank.” 

This poem rings in the ears of the same people struggling with the constant battle of depression. 

The sinking that Hughes refers to coincides with the feeling that people on the brink of diving deeper into depression live with daily. 

Ideally, people with depression or various forms of anxiety find it within themselves to seek help. The worst case scenario leads to them succumbing to the depression.

Not to say it can always be avoided, but there are some steps you, as a friend of someone struggling with depression, can take to ensure you are doing the most to be someone they can reach out to. 

The number one thing you can do as a friend is to always make them feel as if their feelings are valid. The worst feeling is to be under the impression that your feelings do not matter and that your depression is invalid. 

Asking them simple, non-invasive questions like: “How was your day?” “Have you eaten today?” or “How did you sleep last night?” can implement a bond that could allow a person who is struggling with depression find trust in you as their friend and build up the confidence to confide in you. 

Along with listening and giving your friend validation, taking them seriously is a big part of being a good friend.

Look out for behavioral changes like change of eating habits, sleep schedule or the lack of wanting to do the things they normally enjoy. 

Stay with your friend if they are feeling down. The company may curb their idea that no one cares. 

Lastly, if a friend or someone you know confides in you, listen. Make sure to let them take their time and do not interrupt or make them feel as if they are a burden. Show in your body language that you are patient and accepting. 

Avoid giving advice on first glance. Asking them what they need or how you can help could provide them with better outcome over insisting on ways to get past those feelings. 

Understand, though, that this does not always work for everyone — read the situation and do what is best for your friend. 

If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression the Counseling Center can be reached at (717) 477-1481, The Trevor Project (an LGBTQ youth crisis hotline) can be reached at (866) 488-7386 and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. 

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