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  • TALK TO A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER

    When you ask someone for a hand, you show confidence in them and their ability to help out. There are a lot of people out there who want to provide any support they can. Have you ever Googled “how to help a friend with depression?” There are over 1,000,000 results.

TAPPING INTO SUPPORT

A large Canadian survey about depression showed that the vast majority of people look on men dealing with depression with compassion, care, and a willingness to help.  More and more throughout the world, the support is out there and growing – you just have to tap into it.

Most people are happy to be given a chance to lend a hand in a time of need. When you’re doing better, you can return the favour.

For nearly every guy who has overcome depression, the turning point in their recovery came when they reached out to a friend or family member for support.  And for a lot of these guys, it’s something they wished they had done sooner rather than later.

COMMON STUMBLING BLOCKS

Guys often contend with – and need to put aside – a few things when thinking about reaching out to someone:

  1. You want to “solve” this on your own. Trying to battle a major health condition on your own is like trying to push a boulder up a mountain by yourself – without someone to back you up, the thing is likely to run you over.
  2. You don’t want to be a burden. We all like to help out others whenever we can – it makes us feel good.  It’s frustrating when we know someone can use a hand, but they don’t ask for it or use it – that’s the real burden.
  3. You don’t want to look weak or crazy. Depression is a serious health condition that millions of men contend with every year.  There’s nothing about it that suggests weakness or craziness. It’s really no different than if you develop diabetes or high blood pressure – it happens and you work towards making it better.

FOLLOW THESE STEPS

FOR A LOT OF GUYS, A BIG HURDLE IS FIGURING OUT HOW TO GET THE BALL ROLLING WHEN IT COMES TO REACHING OUT TO THOSE AROUND THEM.

  • THINK OF SOMEONE TO TALK TO

    Chances are there is someone already in your life who could be tremendously helpful. Different people can offer different kinds of support, so try to think of what your needs are and who in your family or social network might best respond to that need.

THINK OF SOMEONE WHO

  • You are comfortable with and trust
  • Is likely to understand
  • Will take your situation seriously

IDEAS FOR WHO TO TALK TO

  • Friend, partner, or spouse
  • Family member (brother, sister, or parent)
  • Extended family member (grandparent, aunt, cousin, etc.)
  • Close co-worker
  • Someone who has experience with depression or mental illness
  • Someone who asked you for help in the past (he or she may be happy to return the favour)
  • A counsellor, coach, professor, or trusted member of your religious community

START A CONVERSATION

Where and when you start a conversation is not as important as starting it in the first place. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be an intense conversation that you dread starting. Instead, it’s helpful to keep things casual – go for a walk, grab a coffee, or chat with someone while working.

The conversation doesn’t have to be perfect. It can be as direct and open or as indirect as you want. For example, saying something like, “I’m going through a tough time, and dealing with depression” or “I’ve been getting way too stressed lately and could use a hand” are both good ways to get things going. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to this – just start with what is comfortable for you.

It’s not unusual for someone to disclose their own challenges when you speak to them about your own. This is a sign of trust and mutual understanding. If you want to be heard, you need to listen. Hear out whatever your friend or family member has to say. Be as patient with them as you want them to be with you.

Not everyone understands what depression is or how to help out with someone who has depression, so don’t take it personally if someone doesn’t seem to “get it”.

The first person you talk about depression with might not be able to lend a hand in the way you hoped for, but it doesn’t mean that there aren’t others out there who can help out. Keep looking and talking. With time, you’ll figure out who is best to connect with for a little support.

Each person you approach has his or her own life and responsibilities. If someone isn’t as helpful as you hoped, it might simply be a reflection of how busy they are with things going on in their life.

Sometimes the help that people provide is not exactly what we needed. Nevertheless, it’s good to express your thanks. The person will feel respected and be more apt to lend a hand in the future, if you ask for it.

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