It's not easy to know what to do when you have a friend who seems depressed.  Dr. Romance has some guidelines to help you support and care for your dear one.

1. Don't try to cheer your friend up. It just sounds like you don't understand.

2. Listen, listen, listen: Your friend needs someone who can hear whatever the problem is. It doesn't matter if it seems like a small or big problem to you, it's overwhelming to your friend, and he or she needs to talk about it. A lot.

3. Be sympathetic: "I'm sorry that happened to you." "You don't deserve that." "That sucks." are all good responses that will tell your friend you understand. Listening may take a long time, or go on for several sessions. Your friend has probably not felt safe to talk about it before this, so it's bottled up.

4. Be helpful: After your friend talks it out enough, he or she will naturally begin to analyze his or her feelings, what is going on, etc. rather than just complaining. If you're listening, you'll notice when this change happens. Then, you can make some suggestions: that your friend talk to a particular adult who understands, you can offer to help with homework, etc. . If your friend is upset or angry with his or her own parents, don't suggest talking to them-- let a responsible, caring adult assess the situation first.

5. If your friend won't talk, or talks about suicide or hurting someone else, then it's time for action. Tell your school counselor, or a trusted teacher or parent that your friend is in danger. Don't worry if your friend said not to tell -- that's just the time when telling may save a life.

Excerpted From It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction

Money, Sex and Kids

 

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Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.

Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for LoveForever.com, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.