How To Help Depressed Friends On Facebook

Facebook can help you detect friends who may be suffering from depression, and reaching out to them can strengthen your ties.

Facebook can help you detect friends who may be suffering from depression.

The popular social media site has often been referred to as a kind of mini support group. It’s a place where folks can spill their feelings readily in an environment, that oftentimes, tends to be nonjudgemental.

Since Facebookers do express their feelings, if sadness, for example, is something that they are experiencing, then it will become evident in their postings.

There are some people who tend to vent their feelings without reservation and according to mental health experts, doing this is not a bad thing. On the contrary, it is a therapeutic process. Oftentimes, Facebook is a kind of journal writing exercise and can be influential in helping people overcome many emotionally draining reactions to adverse circumstances.

Depression is a mental health disorder that affects some 19 million Americans. It impacts all aspects of everyday life including eating, sleeping, working, relationships, and how a person thinks about themself. In fact, it affects so many people that it is often referred to as the “common cold” of mental illness.

If you are noticing that a friend’s status updates are constant expressions of saddness, helplessness or pessimism, or they are expressing thoughts of suicide or death, don’t just sit idly by, nod your head and continue to read through their cries for help. You can help that friend get the much needed help they are probably seeking.

Send the friend a private message — open the dialogue. Don’t be afraid to ask questions like: What’s going on? How can I help you?

While Facebook should not be used to formally diagnose depression, if you are a friend, you can offer help. It’s all about being emotionally supportive to that person in need.

Engage the depressed friend in conversation and listen carefully. Do not disparage feelings expressed, but point out realities and offer hope. If you live in the same city, you could offer to escort the person to a therapist’s appointment.

Or refer the friend to a nearby therapist or counselor. The National Directory of Psychologists provides contact information for therapists across the U.S. It’s a good place to start that friend on the road to recovery.

Have you ever seen posts by your Facebook friends showing signs of depression?