DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who has told me he is depressed. He has a therapist and seems to be working through his issues, but I worry about him. With so many stories of suicide these days, I don’t want to be the friend who didn’t notice the warning signs. He does still talk to me, and he says that he is seeking help. He broke up with his girlfriend about a year ago, and he hasn’t been right since. I want to be the best friend that I can to him during this time. What do you recommend? -- Fighting Depression
DEAR FIGHTING DEPRESSION: Continue to stay in close communication with your friend. Be a good listener. Notice if his conversation changes in a way that might indicate a pivot toward self-harm. If so, ask him if he is following his therapist’s directions and if he needs more support.
Otherwise, without casting any judgment, keep him engaged. Let him know how much you care about him, avoid offering your evaluation of his situation and remind him that you want the best for him. If he asks you for advice or guidance that you do not have the capability to give, tell him as much. Remind him that you are not a therapist. You are a friend.
Also, take care of yourself. Make sure that you do not get so immersed in your friend’s troubles that you forget to watch out for your mental, spiritual and physical health. Do not allow this friend to absorb all of your time. For more ideas, go to healthline.com/health/how-to-help-a-depressed-friend.