Identifying the signs and symptoms of depression in a friend or a loved one can be very difficult. You may notice that they seem tired all the time and they may be experiencing difficulties with sleeping and might even seem stressed or withdrawn a lot of the time.
There are many different types of depression and spotting the symptoms isn't easy, especially if someone has been feeling the same way for a long time. Depression can affect anyone, but most people will get better with the right treatment and support.
Being open to mental health can break down the stigma that still surrounds it today. You don't have to be an expert to talk and listen to someone, it's often the little things that make a massive difference. Depression is a common illness that affects 1 in 4 people in Northern Ireland. It's important to remind the person that they are not alone and that there is help available. AWARE offer support groups throughout Northern Ireland - no appointment needed and its free of charge.
If you are worried that the person is having thoughts of completing suicide, it's important not to leave them on their own. Take the time to sit down with the person and talk about their feelings. Don't feel tempted to provide a solution - listening to them and allowing them to speak about it is most important. Asking open ended questions such as "How did that make you feel?" allows the person to continue opening up knowing that you are actively listening.
If the person has previously been diagnosed with a mental illness has suicidal thoughts, contact a member of their care team or the centre or clinic where they were being treated. If you don't have these details you can bring the person to the nearest Accident and Emergency Unit for treatment. Or perhaps call LifeLine on 0808 808 8000 or any of the other 24 hour helplines detailed below.