How can I support friends currently dealing with anxiety and depression? A lot of people's mental health has suffered during the pandemic despite increased awareness and support.
Some friends have taken action about their depression/anxiety through counseling, medication, lifestyle changes e.g., avoiding social media, more exercise.
Is there general advice on how people can support each other? I’m not anxious/depressed, but I understand it’s a burden that makes getting motivated difficult.
Some friends suffer despite having taken action e.g., feeling stuck, worried, numb. Some are still not getting enough support from counseling, or haven't left their emotionally distant partner, or haven't tried any medication. They’re stuck in depression/anxiety and not sleeping well.
It "takes a village" to support one another through the pandemic’s added mental health issues.
Need Helping Methods
You have a big heart which can be helpful just by keeping contact with friends suffering debilitating forms of mental health issues. So, too, you can encourage their addressing specific factors such as leaving an emotionally distant partner.
But they also need to follow the advice given to them by mental health practitioners... e.g., professional counselling advice, finding a personal fitness regime (walking outdoors is a good start), taking the meds a doctor recommends.
And YES, avoiding social media sites that play to alarming people with fake news reports and nasty diatribes against any other opinions.
Friends can reach out, listen, distract with amusing stories. But it’s unfortunately unrealistic to think a layperson can resolve others’ deeply embedded issues that are causing their anxiety/depression.
However, researching and providing information about mental health resources can be very helpful:
In Ontario, for example:
. Call 2-1-1 or Toll-free: 1-877-330-3213
- BounceBack® is a free cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) program that offers guided mental health self-help supports for adults and youth 15 and older. Toll-free: 1-866-345-0224
- ConnexOntario: 1-866 -531-600 or connexontario.ca
Free and confidential health services information for people experiencing problems with alcohol and drugs, mental health and/or gambling. Available 24/7.
- Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566 or crisisservicescanada.ca/en/
Offers 24/7/365 bilingual support to people in Canada who have concerns about suicide. Phone line available 24/7.
- Distress and Crisis Ontario: http://www.dcontario.org/
Distress Centres (DC’s) across Ontario offer support and a variety of services to their communities. At a DC you can find a listening ear for lonely, depressed, and/or suicidal people, usually 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The website also offers a chat function.
- Good2Talk Helpline: 1-866-925-5454 or text GOOD2TALKON to 686868
Ontario’s 24/7 helpline for postsecondary students.
- Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT to 686868
Youth mental health support available 24/7.
- Check other provinces for their resources.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who is "Still Single but Happily Fit." (December 20):
Reader – “My nephew’s in his early 30s, a doctor, good looking and one of the nicest and most terrific men I know. He went on-line two years ago and met a lovely woman. They’re madly in love and just got engaged.
“This letter-writer is having trouble meeting men and she won’t go to a dating app? Does she realize that Covid makes it almost impossible to meet someone at a party or event?
“I wish her lots of luck!”
Reader #2 – “This is 2022. The world she’s “dreaming” about doesn’t exist anymore. If someone tries to say anything more than “good morning” on a hiking trail I turn away.
“Get educated for the times. Before actually joining a dating app, fully investigate the security aspects. Be sure to feel safe and in control.”
Reader #3 – “Turn the tables on people asking why you’re “still not married.” Instead of responding, ask for details about their last fight.
“Both are equally intrusive and inappropriate questions. But when the first question gets asked, the door’s been opened for the second one. Your rude interrogators should be getting the message.
“But, for the more elderly “old school” relatives, a simple “that is really not a question I’d like to discuss,” then changing the subject, would be more appropriate.”
Reader #4 – “For the intrusive folks in your life: A woman's dating choices are her own business.
“The correct response to nosy, judgemental people is to smile, look them in the eye and say: "So how was your trip to Las Vegas?" Or maybe ... "Did you manage to get that horrible sewage smell out of your basement?"
“Or... "Your hair looks lovely! Is it a wig?"
Tip of the day:
Support troubled friends through regular phone/online contact, caring, and suggested resources.