Practical Ways To Help A Friend With Deppresion.

Depression can be an incredibly isolating illness. When we’re depressed, it can be hard for us to speak to our friends. We worry about bringing them down, feel awkward and embarrassed, and don’t know how to explain how we’re feeling.  We may try and isolate ourselves, as it seems easier than maintaining a friendship – a friendship we may believe we no longer deserve.Being a friend to someone with depression can be difficult too.  It’s painful to see someone we care about struggling. We desperately want to help but are unsure how. We know the importance of being a friendly ear – but if our friend doesn’t want to talk, or we don’t know what to say, conversation can dry up. We may be looking for more hands-on ways of offering support.Practical Ways to Help a Friend with Depression TEXTBelow we outline some practical things that might help a friend who is living with depression. Some caution is needed before we launch into action, however. What one friend might find helpful, another could find patronising or intrusive. If in doubt, it’s always worth asking our friends before we try and help them. Even if they don’t want our help, they will be touched that we asked.

ASK

If we want to offer practical support to our friend, the first thing we can do is ask them how we can help. They might not be able to think of anything – in which case we can offer some of the options below.

However there might be something that’s been stressing them out, or a task they’re really behind with; in which case our help with it may be really appreciated.

BE AN ADVOCATE

Sometimes our friend may struggle to get the help they need because they feel too overwhelmed, or can’t articulate what’s happening in their heads. In which case, they may appreciate a friend joining them at appointments, or speaking to services on their behalf. This can help them get the support they need.

When we’re low or lacking in energy, cleaning is one of the things that can go out of the window. But this feeds into us feeling rubbish about ourselves: we look at our surroundings and wonder why we can’t get it together to tidy up.

If they’re happy for us to, giving a friend a hand around the house – washing up, putting the bins out, giving the kitchen a quick wipe round – can make a massive difference to their mood. Clearing cluttercan make life feel less overwhelming and stressful.

COOKING

When we have no energy or motivation, cooking can be a real challenge. Thinking through recipes can be impossible when our brains feel like sludge. We often resort to ready-made food, which is fine every now and again, but can make us feel rubbish after a while. Sometimes, we struggle to eat enough at all, which can also impact our mood.

Coming round and helping our friend cook, or cooking for them, can help them improve their diet which in turn may help their mood. Bringing over extra portions of nutritious batch-cooked meals, like curries or soups or stews in tupperware or takeaway containers might also be appreciated. They can be kept in the freezer for no-energy days, and then quickly zapped in the microwave.

DON’T GIVE UP

Depression can be relentless and recovery is never a straight line. There will be many ups and downs. It might take your friend a long time to start to recover. They might do well for a while then relapse.

Depression can be boring, hard to deal with and frustrating at times. But as impossible as it might feel to us looking on, it will feel ten times more impossible to our friend. Please don’t give up on them.

ENCOURAGE ENJOYMENT

Depression can remover the joy from everything. It can steal our motivation and energy so we stop doing the things we used to enjoy.  Everything seems pointless and futile anyway.

Encouraging our friend to do the things they used to enjoy, or even doing them with them, may be helpful. Even if they don’t enjoy the activities like they used to, doing something different can help them feel less isolated and empty.

ERRANDS

Whether it’s picking up a prescription, filling out paperwork, or something else, we all have errands that we need to do. They can stack up until they feel completely overwhelming.

Helping our friend cross some items off their to-do list can help them feel less overwhelmed, and may make tackling the other errands on their list feel more possible.

FIND LOCAL SERVICES

There are lots of different types of therapy available. Sometimes there are charities or non-NHS services nearby that may be able to provide additional support on top of what the NHS can offer. They might be more specific to our situation than general mental health support.  But when our brains are on go-slow, it’s hard to research these services.

It can be helpful then to research local services on our friends behalf. A quick internet search might result in some options our friend hadn’t considered, which could be just what they need to get back on their feet.

FRESH AIR

Fresh air and a bit of exercise can help to improve our mood, but when we’re unwell it can be really hard to find the courage or motivation to leave the house.

Taking our friend outside for a wander, driving them somewhere calming like a secluded beach or at the very least encouraging them to open their windows, can offer a much-needed breath of fresh air.

GOING OUT FOR COFFEE (OR OTHER DRINK OF CHOICE)

If our friend feels able to, meeting up with them in a café can be a positive experience for them. It encourages them to get out of bed, get dressed, and get out of the house. It gives us the chance to catch up. We don’t need to have a serious, mental health focussed chat; even general chit chat can help us to feel connected with the world and each other.

HELP US WRITE LISTS FOR APPOINTMENTS

When our heads feel foggy, it’s hard to remember the things we need to speak to health professionals about.

Helping our friend write a list of all the things they need to talk about can be really helpful. They can take the list to their appointments, so they feel less anxious about forgetting anything, and can maximise the time they have available.

HUGS

If our friend lives alone – or even if they live with others – they might not get hugs very often. If we have a “huggy” relationship with them, a proper hug whenever we see them may well be appreciated.

JOINT FOOD SHOPPING

If it’s convenient, we can invite our friend food shopping with us. This can help them in a few ways. It forces our friend to do the job rather than procrastinating it for yet another day. It can remove any problems associated with getting to the shops. And it can help them get fresh mood-boosting food in the house. On top of that, you get to spend time together.

If we shop online, we can still invite our friend to join in with us. Even though this essentially means sitting in the same room on different laptops, it still helps. We can support our friend in making decisions what to buy (decisions can be very difficult when we’re depressed). It makes an overwhleming job less of a chore.

LAUGHTER

Laughter can be lacking when depression strikes. Depression recovery isn’t as simple as ‘just cheering up’. However, doing things to help our friend laugh can lift their mood. It could be watching a funny film, texting funny memes, watching some comedy on TV, playing Twister, or bringing a 3-year-old round. We all find different things funny.

LIFTS

Giving our friend lifts to places can remove a barrier from going to appointments or doing jobs. If they have to rely on public transport, the thought involved in planning it can feel overwhelming so they just don’t bother. If they have to walk or cycle, the energy involved in doing so can mean they don’t bother. Even if they have a car, they might not feel well enough to drive, or might keep procrastinating the things they need to do.

As well as removing a layer of stress about getting to places, giving our friend a lift offers them some company, a chance to catch up briefly, and a little bit of moral support.

SOMEWHERE TO STAY

At times, our friend might struggle to feel safe in their house, or might just need a break. Staying overnight at someone else’s house can give them company and some respite from their head for an evening.

TRASHY MOVIES (OR OTHER DISTRACTIONS)

Putting on a rubbish movie can offer a welcome distraction for a few hours. If movies aren’t our friend’s bag,  another low energy activity that doesn’t require much thought could also be a welcome distraction.  Drop them a text and suggest something, or ask them if there’s something they’d like to meet up and do.

VISIT US

Whether we’re at home or in hospital, it’s always nice to know that people care. Depression feeds us lies and tells us that people don’t like us and don’t want to spend time with us. Plus we often stop spending time with people because we don’t want to bring them down.

Visiting a friend can help them shut down this worry. Our presence reminds them that they are loved and that people do care.

MORE IDEAS

For more ideas on helping a friend with depression, we have a guide to Supporting Someone With Depression, which is free to download: https://www.blurtitout.org/blurts-guide-supporting-someone-depression.

Please help us to help others and share this post, you never know who might need it.

credits to The Blurt Team for their work – www.blurtitout.org

How Leader’s Can Influence Mental Health in the Work Place.

Your Business DNA.

I am a true believer that any business no matter what it’s organisationsl structure has a DNA influence, one that sets a tone for the environment of the workplace for its employees. Irrelevant of if a small business, Plc companies, multimillion pound conglomerate, retail, service sector, call centre. Every environment will have a feel to it. My question is very simple, how important is it to your as a leader of a business and your senior management. Do you personally welcome someone to the business on their very first day and talk about the way you want them to feel in the workplace, that you set out what’s important for everyone and why everyone have the right to come to work and enjoy their job.

Sounds a big ask, but this is something I have believed in all my working life, so much so, that on the very first day of an employees journey I talk at least 45 minutes with them personally. Believe me it truly sets a tone and expectation, most of all trust, respect and communication has started on a great footing. I take about that right to enjoy their job, as an example I also state I also want to come to work and enjoy my job as one of the team.

I also talk about training and advice available to them, this process starts the wellbeing journey for me. Knowing that I have already connected as a leader is hugely important. Life is changing and leadership must change with it, I call it flexible leadership in s very diverse society. Meaning our approach’s must be diverse also.

Wellness in the Workplace

Picture of rocks

Just like the ever-changing seasons, organisations must constantly adapt to their environment, whether it be strategic objectives, human resources or organisational climate. Because an organisation is only as effective as its employees, it is necessary to take care of them.

Mental health is an important element of employee well-being and effectiveness. When employees feel that their voices are no longer heard, that their skills are not valued and that leadership does not align with their personal values, the effects can be disastrous on work climate.

Leadership, therefore, has a direct impact on workplace climate, health and well-being. Leaders must be humble and open. They must also consider the importance of future generations. Students and future employees are much more exposed and aware of all aspects of mental health. Because it is a subject that is much less taboo for them, they will expect an organizational culture that takes it into account.

It’s Never Too Late to Do Some Good

I still hear executives expressing that they are not there to be liked by their employees or to contribute to their personal fulfillment. Hearing that saddens me every time. Leaders need to understand that they can really make a difference in the lives of employees.

Here are some ways that leaders can make improvements:

  • Recognise the humanity of each individual and his or her skills
  • Know and perfect your own emotional intelligence
  • Do not let your fear of seeming incompetent take over
  • Align shared employee values with the company’s mandate
  • Be present with employees, greet them, engage them in discussion and include them with authenticity
  • Organise short quarterly meetings with all your employees
  • Organise an annual event that bring them together
  • Openly talk about mental health & wellbeing, talk about it, share information on notice boards and in meetings.
  • Reduce sending emails, never send any outside working hours unless urgent and important.
  • Talk about the stuff that motivates you as a leader, so they truly see the human side of you.
  • be an inspiration, not by the usual stuff, be seen to volunteer / raise money as a team for a cause and get there positive supportive- ask your team to choose a charity of the year to support.

The gap in performance and well-being between a team focused on control-and-task and a team focused on innovation-and-empowerment is enormous.  Research shows that the ROI in a healthy workplace can be up to sixfold. Simply put have a very clear and defined communication plan that your whole leadership buy into. The buy product will be a workplace that everyone wants to stay in, meaning better productivity and retention.

Let Your Team Know- You Do Listen!

Favor self-determination by your team because they are best positioned to know that something is not working optimally in the organisation or within the management team, for example. Discuss your observations, fears and objectives for yourself as a leader, for your team and for your organisation. Ask their opinions for solutions, trust me they do have them

An analysis of your cultural values will provide an excellent starting point for identifying the issues and initiating a dialogue with you and your team, especially with feedback forums- in the art of team meetings not social media!

Recognise Your Business DNA 

We have talked about discussing the DNA of your buisness, but what does it truly represent to you and your team? I challenge you to ask your team? Gain their thoughts on what are the great aspects of working in the business. Then agree they will be the principles that will shared with all new recruits, in job interviews and even with your customers. It will change your business positively forever, your team will feel supported and become the ambassadors of the business whilst ensuring the wellbeing of each other is maintained.

Summary

As a leader we will still have the challenging days, difficult scenarios. However with a positive approach to celebrating successes, your business DNA and most importantly a good communication plan with your team, you will master those hard times even better as a collect and not just as an individual.

Go and have a great day with your team.

Marcus Jones

Business Leader and Founder of The Links Foundation

www.marcusjones.co.uk

 

Practical Ways To Help A Friend With Depression

Depression can be an incredibly isolating illness. When we’re depressed, it can be hard for us to speak to our friends. We worry about bringing them down, feel awkward and embarrassed, and don’t know how to explain how we’re feeling.  We may try and isolate ourselves, as it seems easier than maintaining a friendship – a friendship we may believe we no longer deserve.

Being a friend to someone with depression can be difficult too.  It’s painful to see someone we care about struggling. We desperately want to help but are unsure how. We know the importance of being a friendly ear – but if our friend doesn’t want to talk, or we don’t know what to say, conversation can dry up. We may be looking for more hands-on ways of offering support.

Practical Ways to Help a Friend with Depression TEXTBelow we outline some practical things that might help a friend who is living with depression. Some caution is needed before we launch into action, however. What one friend might find helpful, another could find patronising or intrusive. If in doubt, it’s always worth asking our friends before we try and help them. Even if they don’t want our help, they will be touched that we asked.

ASK

If we want to offer practical support to our friend, the first thing we can do is ask them how we can help. They might not be able to think of anything – in which case we can offer some of the options below.

However there might be something that’s been stressing them out, or a task they’re really behind with; in which case our help with it may be really appreciated.

BE AN ADVOCATE

Sometimes our friend may struggle to get the help they need because they feel too overwhelmed, or can’t articulate what’s happening in their heads. In which case, they may appreciate a friend joining them at appointments, or speaking to services on their behalf. This can help them get the support they need.

CLEANING

When we’re low or lacking in energy, cleaning is one of the things that can go out of the window. But this feeds into us feeling rubbish about ourselves: we look at our surroundings and wonder why we can’t get it together to tidy up.

If they’re happy for us to, giving a friend a hand around the house – washing up, putting the bins out, giving the kitchen a quick wipe round – can make a massive difference to their mood. Clearing cluttercan make life feel less overwhelming and stressful.

COOKING

When we have no energy or motivation, cooking can be a real challenge. Thinking through recipes can be impossible when our brains feel like sludge. We often resort to ready-made food, which is fine every now and again, but can make us feel rubbish after a while. Sometimes, we struggle to eat enough at all, which can also impact our mood.

Coming round and helping our friend cook, or cooking for them, can help them improve their diet which in turn may help their mood. Bringing over extra portions of nutritious batch-cooked meals, like curries or soups or stews in tupperware or takeaway containers might also be appreciated. They can be kept in the freezer for no-energy days, and then quickly zapped in the microwave.

DON’T GIVE UP

Depression can be relentless and recovery is never a straight line. There will be many ups and downs. It might take your friend a long time to start to recover. They might do well for a while then relapse.

Depression can be boring, hard to deal with and frustrating at times. But as impossible as it might feel to us looking on, it will feel ten times more impossible to our friend. Please don’t give up on them.

ENCOURAGE ENJOYMENT

Depression can remover the joy from everything. It can steal our motivation and energy so we stop doing the things we used to enjoy.  Everything seems pointless and futile anyway.

Encouraging our friend to do the things they used to enjoy, or even doing them with them, may be helpful. Even if they don’t enjoy the activities like they used to, doing something different can help them feel less isolated and empty.

ERRANDS

Whether it’s picking up a prescription, filling out paperwork, or something else, we all have errands that we need to do. They can stack up until they feel completely overwhelming.

Helping our friend cross some items off their to-do list can help them feel less overwhelmed, and may make tackling the other errands on their list feel more possible.

FIND LOCAL SERVICES

There are lots of different types of therapy available. Sometimes there are charities or non-NHS services nearby that may be able to provide additional support on top of what the NHS can offer. They might be more specific to our situation than general mental health support.  But when our brains are on go-slow, it’s hard to research these services.

It can be helpful then to research local services on our friends behalf. A quick internet search might result in some options our friend hadn’t considered, which could be just what they need to get back on their feet.

FRESH AIR

Fresh air and a bit of exercise can help to improve our mood, but when we’re unwell it can be really hard to find the courage or motivation to leave the house.

Taking our friend outside for a wander, driving them somewhere calming like a secluded beach or at the very least encouraging them to open their windows, can offer a much-needed breath of fresh air.

GOING OUT FOR COFFEE (OR OTHER DRINK OF CHOICE)

If our friend feels able to, meeting up with them in a café can be a positive experience for them. It encourages them to get out of bed, get dressed, and get out of the house. It gives us the chance to catch up. We don’t need to have a serious, mental health focussed chat; even general chit chat can help us to feel connected with the world and each other.

HELP US WRITE LISTS FOR APPOINTMENTS

When our heads feel foggy, it’s hard to remember the things we need to speak to health professionals about.

Helping our friend write a list of all the things they need to talk about can be really helpful. They can take the list to their appointments, so they feel less anxious about forgetting anything, and can maximise the time they have available.

HUGS

If our friend lives alone – or even if they live with others – they might not get hugs very often. If we have a “huggy” relationship with them, a proper hug whenever we see them may well be appreciated.

 

JOINT FOOD SHOPPING

If it’s convenient, we can invite our friend food shopping with us. This can help them in a few ways. It forces our friend to do the job rather than procrastinating it for yet another day. It can remove any problems associated with getting to the shops. And it can help them get fresh mood-boosting food in the house. On top of that, you get to spend time together.

If we shop online, we can still invite our friend to join in with us. Even though this essentially means sitting in the same room on different laptops, it still helps. We can support our friend in making decisions what to buy (decisions can be very difficult when we’re depressed). It makes an overwhleming job less of a chore.

LAUGHTER

Laughter can be lacking when depression strikes. Depression recovery isn’t as simple as ‘just cheering up’. However, doing things to help our friend laugh can lift their mood. It could be watching a funny film, texting funny memes, watching some comedy on TV, playing Twister, or bringing a 3-year-old round. We all find different things funny.

LIFTS

Giving our friend lifts to places can remove a barrier from going to appointments or doing jobs. If they have to rely on public transport, the thought involved in planning it can feel overwhelming so they just don’t bother. If they have to walk or cycle, the energy involved in doing so can mean they don’t bother. Even if they have a car, they might not feel well enough to drive, or might keep procrastinating the things they need to do.

As well as removing a layer of stress about getting to places, giving our friend a lift offers them some company, a chance to catch up briefly, and a little bit of moral support.

SOMEWHERE TO STAY

At times, our friend might struggle to feel safe in their house, or might just need a break. Staying overnight at someone else’s house can give them company and some respite from their head for an evening.

TRASHY MOVIES (OR OTHER DISTRACTIONS)

Putting on a rubbish movie can offer a welcome distraction for a few hours. If movies aren’t our friend’s bag,  another low energy activity that doesn’t require much thought could also be a welcome distraction.  Drop them a text and suggest something, or ask them if there’s something they’d like to meet up and do.

VISIT US

Whether we’re at home or in hospital, it’s always nice to know that people care. Depression feeds us lies and tells us that people don’t like us and don’t want to spend time with us. Plus we often stop spending time with people because we don’t want to bring them down.

Visiting a friend can help them shut down this worry. Our presence reminds them that they are loved and that people do care.

MORE IDEAS

For more ideas on helping a friend with depression, we have a guide to Supporting Someone With Depression, which is free to download: https://www.blurtitout.org/blurts-guide-supporting-someone-depression.

Please help us to help others and share this post, you never know who might need it.

Credit for the articel to The Blurt Team – www.bluritout.org

The Links Foundation Launch

A short video celebrating the partnership launch of The Links Foundation and SwitchUp CIC Nottingham.

The Links Foundation Team are working with SwitchUp CIC to support young people through their programmes with an exit strategy that creates opportunity to apprenticeships for young people. Supported with a mental strength programme for The Umbrella Project via Links.

Our aim;

Create mental strength programmes that allow for the disciplines of sport to be transferred in every day life.

Nurturing the positive behaviours of group work to meet new friends and create new safe spaces through activities.

We also engage in alternative activities for those wanting explore different activities.

A programme for all ages and for both men and women aged 18plus.

Marcus Jones

The Links Founder