This article was published on June 13th, 2019
Depression among gay men is a subject that will never get old nor become unimportant. It’s crucial to talk about it as it really is a big issue, and a very dark one for a matter of fact. However, this article will not focus on the main reasons for the depression of gay people, but how to actually help someone you might think is depressed. If you have a gay friend who’s depressed, it’s very important to act on it immediately, as you never know how his depression might end, and we have been witnesses of some awful outcomes. We will not think negatively, but positively. This is why you should read the following tips and use them to help your depressed gay friend feel himself once again.
Familiarize yourself with depression
The first thing you, as a friend, need to do is familiarize yourself with the state of depression. You do not suffer from it, so you can leave all of the things you think you know about it behind. You need to bear in mind that depression is an illness that attacks one’s self-worth. Not only do people suffering from depressions deal with how society sees them, but they also deal with the way they see themselves. This is why it’s very important to boost their ego and confidence very often and very carefully. Moreover, do not try to fix them – this is a mistake that people suffering from depression will easily recognize which can result in even worse ways.
Understand the reasons
In order to help your depressed friend, you need to understand the reasons behind his depression. Once again, depression in the gay community is not an unusual thing, and there are many reasons behind it. Some of them might be the impossibility of being who you are, being bullied, high expectations of your own body, but whichever it is, it is your job to try and understand the reasons why your friend is depressed and start from there. Empathy can definitely help you a lot in this process, and it will look like you are not trying to fix anyone, but rather help them.
Indulge in interesting activities
Obviously, the most logical way to help someone cure their depression is to make them forget about it. Even though this might sound easier than it actually is, it is your job to organize fun activities your friend would enjoy in. This could range from the activities you already do together, to some completely new ones. For example, gathering several friends and opting for different helicopter tours is a great idea because not only is it unique and interesting, but it can also get his mind into a completely different mindset, which is of the utmost importance for your goal. Apart from that, you can also organize different weekend getaways, treasure hunts or parties. Even though this will only make them forget about their depression for a short period of time, these are very important baby steps.
Talk and listen
Talking is always a great idea. However, you need to find the perfect moment to talk to your friend about the problems he is facing and the reason of his depression. Know that depressed people do not talk about these problems very gladly, so you definitely need to set the mood and create that opening atmosphere. A good way to do that is by sharing your own insecurities and problems first, and once they see that you’re opening up, they might open up as well. While talking about these problems, it’s very important to understand them and show empathy. Also, try to be constructively critical, as that might help them as well. Remind him that you are friends and that everything he says will remain between the two of you.
Take their feelings seriously
A very important lesson in talking and listening is taking their feelings seriously. This means that you should stay away from sentences such as “snap out of it”, “cheer up” or “forget about it”. These are very dangerous triggers that will not only affect their depression even more, but they might stop opening up to you thinking you don’t understand. Put yourself in their shoes and tell them what you would do if you were them. This is always a good way to give pieces of advice if you’re not a person who can easily think of a quick tip to give.
Encourage professional help
Once you talk to him, you will see if he really needs professional help or not. If you think that he should see a psychologist or psychotherapist, encourage this. List all of the advantages of seeking professional help, and be fully supportive.
Depression is definitely one of the worst enemies that we have, and it’s very important to fight them as much as we can. Sometimes we won’t be able to do it by ourselves, and this is where friends step in. They should be there helping out, giving proper insight and being in charge of fun.