Question: How can I tell if a friend or family member is depressed and seeking help?
Answer: If you're worried that someone has depression, you want to ask them the questions and don't be afraid to ask someone close to you the questions about depression, even about suicide. There was a myth that was around a long time ago that if you asked someone about suicide you might plant that idea in their mind. That is a myth. You won't hurt anybody by asking about suicide. In fact, many people are relieved that someone's actually asking them and cares enough about it.
But you want to go through the symptoms of major depression to see if they have it. And unfortunately, symptoms are somewhat nonspecific. A lot of physical illnesses can mimic some of the symptoms of depression.
But you want to look for people's mood obviously being low or blue or sad, combined with reduced interest in their every day activities. And if they have those two symptoms combined with a change in sleep, either sleeping too much or sleeping too little, increased or decreased appetite, low energy, poor concentration, loss of pleasure in doing things that they used to bring them pleasure, and even thoughts of suicide or morbid thoughts.
If they have even a few of these symptoms you want to have them seek help because they could have major depression. And we know major depression is very treatable these days and not treating depression can be deadly. So you want to obviously screen for that.