Mental health expert's tips for if you think your friend has depression

  • 23/08/2018

An expert in mental health and addictions says people need to not be shy when it comes to helping friends with depression

Tributes have been flowing for TVNZ broadcaster Greg Boyed after he passed away while on holiday in Switzerland on Monday. Boyed was 48 and suffered from depression.

Speaking to RadioLIVE, the National Telehealth Service's acting manager of mental health and addictions Mel Grant said friends should not be shy about asking how others are feeling.

"I would really encourage you if you have a friend that is... saying things like 'I just don't know what to do anymore, I've had enough' is actually just come out and ask them 'are you thinking of hurting yourself?'" she said.

"That is the best way because it opens up the conversation. If they're not feeling like hurting themselves [then] you asking them that is not going to make them feel like that."

Morning Talk host Mark Sainsbury wasn't sure people would be honest in responding to that question, but Ms Grant said they would be.

"Often it's a relief that someone has actually said the words to them and that gives them permission to talk about actually what they've been thinking about in their head," she said.

If they do open up and say things aren't great it's important to make it clear that you will support them.

"Tell them that you're there for them, that you won't leave them, that you will do whatever it takes to get them some professional help, that you love and care about them," Ms Grant said.

And if you're not sure what else to do, you can always call the depression line or 1737 and ask for advice on how to help your friend.

"If you've had a friend disclose something to you and you think 'I don't know how to support them I don't know what to do' give us a call or text us and we can give you some pointers," Ms Grant said.

Where to find help and support: