(If you are suicidal or “just” in crisis, please call 1-800-273-8255, text “START” to 741-741, call the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text the word “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200. International suicide hotlines are listed here. You can also walk into an ER or call 911.)
Now, to everyone sharing the suicide hotline numbers but not actually doing anything to help:
GET OFF YOUR ASSES AND DO SOMETHING TO HELP.
- Actually CALL your friends. Ask if they’re okay. If they say “not really” or “I’m getting by” or “kinda depressed,” ask them what’s wrong. If you can help, DO IT.
- Do you regularly see someone who seems depressed or worried? Ask if they’re okay. They may not want to talk. They may be elated that someone finally asked. They may be suffering from depression and need some motivation to seek help, like you offering to help them find a therapist. They may need help getting to a therapist, their doctor, or the hospital. And that leads to my next point . . .
- Many times, chronic depression is aggravated by things like physical health problems, abuse, and poverty. If you find out that someone is depressed and being abused, you can do the work of finding a way to get them out of that situation. You can take them to the police station. You can (if the situation is safe at the moment) help them move.
- Poverty. Many times, as little as $25 to tide someone over until payday can help someone with depression. I have given money to friends with no expectation of repayment when I really couldn’t afford it but I could live without it and they couldn’t. Other things that you can do to help someone who is broke if you can’t give them a few bucks are: mow their lawn, clean their gutters, make small household repairs, help them paint, or just lift something that’s too heavy for them to lift alone. When your house is crappy, it doesn’t help your depression.
- Feed a friend. Make a meal for them. Take them out to eat. Give them a (paper) bag of groceries that will last several days.
- Pets. Being poor doesn’t make someone a bad pet owner. People get pets when their lives are going okay (or take in strays when they really can’t afford them.) Regardless, eating peanut butter and Ramen and not being able to afford cat litter or dog food does not help depression. It makes you feel worthless (I swear to God if anyone says “take the animal to the pound” I will block your ass in a nanosecond.) Drop off a bag of cat food and some friggin’ Spam.
- People who are disabled and/or elderly and living alone often suffer from depression. That house across the street where the old man with the oxygen tank lives alone? MOW HIS YARD.
- And sometimes it’s just loneliness. Social media does not make up for human companionship. Ask someone if they want to go to a movie, or stay in and watch a movie, or come to dinner, or go to the library, or a museum, or yard sales, or thrift stores, or whatever. (You don’t always have to pay. Sometimes people can pay their own way, they just don’t want to go alone. Sometimes people can pay for yard work too, they’re just embarrassed to ask for help.)
And that’s the whole point of the post. Ask, “How are you doing?” and see where it goes. You could save a life.