Depression rates in the U.S. are rising, and college campuses in particular are being affected. If the past is any indication, this trend will continue. This is particularly alarming, as depression is a leading cause of suicide, as Emory University points out. Thus, for a concerned individual, caring for a depressed friend is important. Research concerning how to help a depressed individual is expansive and with various focus. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America focuses on the help parents can provide. However, a large chunk of research exists on how friends can help depressed friends, particularly within the college setting.
Nearly all sources indicate that encouraging a student to seek professional help is the first and most important thing to do. SCTimes encourages family and friends to keep in consistent contact. Penn State Brandywine gives more suggestions: communicating care and concern; asking, assessing, and affirming; reaching for resources and referring; engaging, explaining, and eliminating danger. The National Institute of Mental Health suggests offering support, understanding, patience, and encouragement; talking and listening carefully; never ignoring suicidal comments and reporting them to therapists; inviting friends for walks and other activities; ensuring that doctor’s appointments are met; and reminding friends that depression will lift.