Depression can affect people in any career or life situation. Even people who play sports and live an active lifestyle may struggle with depression from time to time. Recently, Justine Schluntz, a well-known American swimmer with a PhD in engineering from Oxford, opened up about her battle with depression. Schluntz offers valuable advice for people whose teammates are depressed. Whether you are part of a sports team, a study group, a business team, or some other collective, you can adopt these strategies for dealing with a depressed teammate.

1. Ask “How Are You?”

Ask your teammate how he or she is doing— not in a breezy, offhand way, but with direct eye contact and a kind smile. That body language tells the person that you’re not just asking to be polite— you really want to know. You care, and you’re interested in them and their feelings. Just knowing that someone actually cares is so helpful to a person suffering with depression. If they are withdrawing into themselves because of the depression, your question helps them come back out of their shell and speak about their struggle.

2. Listen to Your Teammate

Maybe you’re anxious to get to lunch, to go to an appointment, or to pick up a few things from the grocery store; but if a depressed person begins to open up to you, listen. The other things can probably wait. Just by listening to someone who is depressed, you may be providing the life-saving personal contact that they need to feel hopeful again. Don’t shut down someone who is trying to share their struggles with you, or they will find it much harder to be vulnerable and communicative in the future.

3. Know What to Say

When someone unveils all the pain and distress and darkness that he is experiencing, it may be overwhelming for you. You might not know what to say or how to help. One thing that is precious to a depressed person is the knowledge that someone truly cares— so if you aren’t sure what to say, simply tell the person, “I care about you. Thank you for telling me how you feel. You are valued, and you are special, and you are loved. If there is anything I can do to help you feel better, I will do it for you.”

4. Help Your Teammate Stay Accountable

Depression takes away much of a person’s motivation. Depressed people often hole up at home and withdraw from society; they might not see the point or purpose in living life normally anymore. Don’t let the person you care about shut themselves away. Draw them out with love. Make them join you for a party, or go out to dinner with another friend or two. Take a walk with the person, bring them to a beautiful place, or drag them along for an activity that they used to enjoy. Once they get out of the house and involved in something enjoyable, they may start to feel lighter and happier.

5. Talk to Your Teammate About Mental Health Care

Encourage your teammate to seek professional help from a psychiatrist in Singapore. Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic has a number of highly trained, caring professionals who can help with depression and related disorders. Stand by your teammate with love and support, and he or she should soon be on the road to recovery.

News Feed from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic

Source: Swim Swam, 10 November, 2016