As I started writing this article, I decide to google to see what statistics have to say about depression rates in Kenya. I went through the organic search results and came across a Depression in Men article by the Business Daily and the starting paragraph was about a ‘happy doctor’ who committed suicide.
Looking the at this years World Heath Organization report, Kenya in the 6th most depressed country in Africa with over 1.9 million people recorded to be depressed in 2017. Now, if you think that depression is still not something to talk about, then you need to think again. This reminds me of a story about a pastor who committed suicide early this year.
Depression knows no gender or religious background and I will not go into the debate of if it is a disease or not for now. Today, I just want us to help our brothers and sisters who are in depression and here are 7 basic ways that you can use to show your love and support.
The first step to dealing with anything is to acknowledge its existence and find out the truth about it. Its signs and symptoms, how it comes about and how to deal with it the best and MOST HEALTHY WAY possible.
Educate your Friend or Family Member who is in Depression
I chose a long subtitle for this because I hate calling them victims. I love to let them know that it is not an identity, it is just a season that you can pass through and make it to the other side. When it comes to educating your friend, you should not bring them a big medical text book or journal with ‘Depression’ as the headline. Instead, be wise and a bit creative so that you are not magnifying the condition every now and then. For example you can take them to a talk by a person who has battled with depression or watch movies that talk about it. Talk shows on YouTube are also quite helpful.
Encourage Therapy and Counseling Sessions
Gone are the days when therapy was seen as something for the weak or a white man’s way of mourning. There is a lot that a person can learn to handle through therapy sessions and even get to the bottom of the issue. CITAM churches offer great counseling sessions. Nisikize by Kendi Ashitiva is also an amazing option.
Talk About It
The more you sit down in silence, afraid to let the cat out of the bag, the more the situation becomes unbearable. It is okay to talk about the situation whenever the patient feels like it. Let us get rid of the awkward atmosphere near depressed people. It honestly makes it worse, making depression look like a terminal illness. Talk about the feelings, how it began, ask them how you could help and so on.
There are the days that a depressed patient will not want you to interfere as they talk. Listen. Sit there and listen. Node your head, add one or two commentary words to let them know that you are listening. It helps get the weight off.
Build Their Confidence
Whenever the patient makes an improvement, let them know that you recognize it. What are they good at? In their high time, have them do those things that they love doing. This reminds them of their purpose and helps them keep their mind off the depression for a while.
The best time to look for all the Churchill’s YouTube videos is now. Every now and then introduce some humor in your conversation. As they say, laughter is the best medicine.
There is a lot that people need to learn for themselves about depression and Caroline Leaf’s talk about how our minds work is a great place to start. It is true that people are feeling sad and helpless but it is also true that people can come out of depression and be great in life once again. Let us help a friend, let us be intentional about how we handle it and let the people who fell depressed know that that they are not alone.