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  1. Employee Resources
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  3. Depression Support

Depression: Supporting a Family Member, Friend, or Colleague

Release Date: October 8, 2020

October 8 is National Depression Screening Day, a national campaign designed to help raise awareness about depression and to fight the stigma around seeking help for this common mental health condition. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 16.2 million U.S. adults, roughly seven percent of the population, have had at least one major depressive episode.

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and a loss of interest in daily activities. The symptoms of depression vary from typical mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. Depression can cause someone to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school, or at home. At its worst, major depression can lead to suicide.

A depressed person may not be able to recognize their symptoms and may not actively seek help or get screened for depression. The World Health Organization estimates that two-thirds of individuals suffering from mental health problems choose to avoid seeking help for their condition due to stigma or lack of access to mental health care.

If you have concerns that a family member, friend, or colleague is suffering from depression, talking to them is an important step toward supporting them and potentially helping them get screened and treated for depression. These conversations can be difficult, but here are some ways to start:

Show You Care

  • “How are you feeling? I’m here to listen to you and support you.”
  • “I’m concerned about you. Are you ok?”
  • “Let me tell you all the things I love about you.”
  • “I'd really like to spend time with you. Let’s take a walk and grab something to eat.”

Offer Hope if Someone Says They are Depressed

  • “You're not alone. Many people suffer from depression – don’t be ashamed to get help.”
  • “Depression can be treated. Getting help is the best thing you can do.”
  • “Most people feel better after they talk to someone.”

Offer to Help

  • “Let me help you figure out what’s going on. You can start by making an appointment with your doctor or I can help you find someone to talk to, like our EAP counselors.”
  • “I can give you a ride to your therapy appointment.”
  • “You can call or text me at any time if you need support – or if you just want to talk.”

Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) also provides free and confidential support, counseling resources, and information to help you manage your work and life responsibilities. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information, contact your Component EAP, or send an email to worklife@hq.dhs.gov.

Last Updated: 10/08/2020
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