New campaign helps Canadians talk to each other about depression

The Mood Disorders Association of B.C. says many people want to help those suffering from depression but don't know what to say.

Many people want to help but they don't know what to say, says Mood Disorders Association of B.C.

A new campaign from the Mood Disorders Association of B.C. is helping friends and family talk about mental health with their loved ones. (iStock)

A new campaign aims to help friends and family talk to their loved ones about depression.

The Mood Disorders Association of B.C. says even though they want to help, many people don't know what to say or how to talk to those suffering from depression.

"Sometimes, [they] inadvertently place the blame on the person experiencing the symptoms. Instead of encouraging them to get help, they might say this isn't something you need to worry about," explained Polly Guetta, a coordinator with the organization.

That's why the association is launching "What Helps, What Hurts", a campaign that identifies what people should do to help those suffering from depression.

Guetta said the best way friends and family can help is by listening.

"Take it seriously, follow up with people. Show that you care for them, that you're not going to judge them, that you don't think less of them for having a struggle," she said.

"Instead of using language that would kind of make them take a step back and tell them what they should do, you might just want to have a conversation."

The campaign's downloadable pocket guide recommends 4 steps:

  1. Check in with your friend, encourage them to talk about what's bothering them
  2. Listen, and take things seriously
  3. Encourage action, possibly seeking professional help
  4. Follow up

The campaign is focused on younger adults, aged 18 to 30 years old, because many mental illnesses begin to manifest at this age, and younger people are often reluctant to seek help.

"Life is really tough and sometimes it's hard to cope especially for young people who are emerging as adults and don't necessarily have the coping skills that older adults have," Guetta said.

With files from The Early Edition


To listen to the interview, click on the link labelled New campaign helps Canadians talk to each other about depression