What to say to depressed acquaintances?

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ranger_lennier
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What to say to depressed acquaintances?

Post by ranger_lennier » Tue Jun 10, 2014 7:33 pm

There are a number of people that I know fairly slightly through things like Internet forums, blogs, etc. So I generally only know about them what they choose to present there, and our interactions are pretty limited and for the most part only involve specific topics. But every now and then someone will make a comment that indicates to me that they're suffering from metal health issues like depression. Now granted, I am not trained to make an actual diagnosis, but to me it seems fairly clear when someone's saying things like they go to bed every night praying they never wake up.

My instinct is that I ought to say something to them, but then I'm not really sure what to say, or even if they'd want my input since we don't know each other that well. On the other hand, they did write this in a place where I was able to read it, so maybe they do want to talk to someone. So, to anyone who has dealt with this issue from either side, what would be most helpful? Just a general message of support? Offering to chat on-line or on the phone (in person would usually not be practical)? Is it appropriate to recommend seeing a mental health professional, and how can you do that in way that's least likely to cause offense? Or should I just hope that they have people who know them better to reach out to?

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matt
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Re: What to say to depressed acquaintances?

Post by matt » Thu Jun 12, 2014 7:40 pm

That is a really tough question to answer, and I'm not really sure I'm equipped to answer it. Perhaps someone with a psychiatric background would be better to ask. I'm not sure if there is anyone like that on the forum... Maybe?

Anyway, I'm not sure I can give a good recommendation, but I suppose I can offer some thoughts. For a lot of people mental illness is something REALLY difficult to talk about. For the longest time, I didn't tell even my closest friends. Maybe that might make it easier to talk to someone you don't have to interact with in your everyday life...

I think it might be worth TRYING to contact someone privately and offer to listen. Now, I don't know how much you value your relationships with these people, but it's possible that they might feel uncomfortable chatting/talking with you moving forward because you "KNOW" something they are trying to keep secret. If you are comfortable with that, then I think it's worth reaching out privately.
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

Grabthehoopka
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Re: What to say to depressed acquaintances?

Post by Grabthehoopka » Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:25 am

Yeah, I'm not really authorized to give a good answer on this either, but the best advice I can give is to be there for them. Don't tell them to cheer up or stop moping around or something like that. They don't have any control over it, so it'll pass when it passes. The best thing you can do is be around for them. You might not do much together, or they might say they need space, but just show them that you care by sticking with them until they come out the other side of it.

I don't know if that helps.

ranger_lennier
Posts: 250
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:37 pm

Re: What to say to depressed acquaintances?

Post by ranger_lennier » Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:40 am

I think it is possible that they're more comfortable discussing it in a semi-anonymous venue. In the recent message that sparked my question, he did talk about faking happiness for other people. I don't know if I can help, but I will at least offer to talk to him.

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matt
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Re: What to say to depressed acquaintances?

Post by matt » Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:21 pm

Best of luck! Let me know if there is anything I can do to help!
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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