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how can you help? Part 1

How do you let a person know that you think they might need help?

It’s not always easy to know how to help someone who is experiencing depression/anxiety. It can be hard to know what to say or do. We all respond to situations and talk about things differently. The following approaches are designed with this in mind. They offer you a number of ways to help a friend or family member.

Initiate talk

Taking that first step towards helping a person who appears to be in need, requires some thought and care. Choose a mutually convenient time and place.

Listen more than talk

Sometimes, when a person you care about wants to talk, they’re not necessarily seeking advice, but just need to talk about some of their concerns. Listening, rather than talking, is a way of understanding how someone feels. This is called active listening. You may like to save any suggestions, solutions or advice for a later discussion and instead, offer neutral comments such as ‘I can see how that would bother you’.

Use appropriate body language

Body language plays an important role in helping the person you care about to feel more comfortable. To show you are listening, try to maintain eye contact and sit in a relaxed position.

Use open-ended questions

Open-ended questions are a good way to start a conversation. They require more information and can’t be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Some examples are ‘So tell me about..?’ or ‘What’s troubling you?’

Difficult conversations

Sometimes, if people are experiencing the symptoms of depression/anxiety, they may find it awkward to discuss their thoughts and emotions openly. They may even get angry with you when you ask if they’re OK.

The following tips may be helpful when approaching a difficult conversation:

• Stay calm
• Be firm, fair and consistent
• If you are wrong, admit it
• Don’t lose control.

Spend time together

Often, just taking the time to talk to or be with the person lets them know you care and can help you understand what they’re going through.

Take care of yourself

As a family member or friend of someone who is experiencing depression/anxiety, it’s important to look after yourself. Take time to relax and enjoy things you like doing.

To find out more about the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety, available treatments and where to get help, visit the beyondblue website at www.beyondblue.org.au or call the info line on 1300 22 4636.

This article is from the beyondblue information sheet: Fact sheet 1 How can you help someone with depression-anxiety.pdf.

Tab Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Born in Sydney in 1975, Angus grew up in the northern suburbs of Sydney and later in the Western Suburbs of Sydney. Over the years he has been a check out operator, charity collection agent for the Muscualr Dystrophy Association, Apple Repair Technician and is a former Director and all rounder type computer and network technician of Little Computer People. He is married to Michelle, who he met on-line back in the good old days of the internet when it was considered a big no-no to have physically met someone you chat to on-line for fear of harm. He has lived in Melbourne for two years, then moved back to Sydney for eleven years, but is once again back in Melbourne. It is nicer than Sydney for artistic purposes and coolness factor. As of now he lives in Pascoe Vale, fixes computers and networks, takes photos of all sorts of things as a hobby and builds lego to help deal with his depression. Capril means even more to him now.

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