It's important to note that depression is a disease. It's not a question of being depressed about something, with the sufferer just needing to "cheer up". It's far more complicated than that, and I for one will admit to not knowing a huge amount about it. But here's a quote from Stephen Fry on the subject:
"If you know someone who is depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn't a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather. Try to understand the blackness, the lethargy, the hopelessness and loneliness they are going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It's hard to be a friend to someone who's depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest and best things you will ever do."
Amongst my Twitter feed was a link to a blog post on the Den of Geek website, stating where people can get help with depression, and where I took the title for this blog post from. You can see the original blog post here, but below is it's text in full:
If you're feeling depressed, low, or worse, then please take a look at this, and consider reaching out to someone.
There aren't many positives around today, with many of us shocked at the death of Robin Williams overnight. Williams had been suffering from depression for a long time, and chose to take his own life. Our heart goes out to him, and those who knew him.
If there's one 'good' thing to come out of such a horrible, tragic event, perhaps someone out there may just reach out for help now. It is the only reason we've used his picture to headline this article. Depression, and mental health, are not taboo subjects. They are affecting millions upon millions of people every single day. If you are one of them, no matter how much it may feel to the contrary, you are not alone. Really.
The title of this piece is 'where to get help with depression' and we fully accept that trivialises things a little. Because where do you start? How can you get help when so many people around you don't seem to understand what you face on a daily basis?
Thus, we've no intention of pretending to know the answers. But please: try and talk to someone. Anyone. These fine organisations are brilliant starting points, full of friendly people. Life might just have a few smiles waiting for you that you don't know about.
CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, aimed at young men feeling unhappy. It has a web chat service, and freephone phone lines. You can find its website here.
MIND is an organisation that aims to make sure nobody has to face a mental health problem by themselves. You can find its website here. The MIND infoline is 0300 123 3393.
It's an old cliche perhaps to call a Samaritan, but then The Samaritans do such wonderful work. You can talk to them around the clock on 08457-90-90-90.
PAPYRUS is a group that supports teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal. You can call them on 0800 068 4141.
The Depression Alliance can help those around you gain a better understanding of what depression is, and how it affects you. It has a directory of support groups around the country, here.
Students Against Depression's website is full of resources and information. It's just as useful for those worried about a friend as it is if you're facing depression yourself.
Maytree supports people feeling suicidal, but in a non-medical setting. Its website is here.
Also: it's worth having a chat with your GP. We've been contacted by one or two people on Twitter, who told us that their fight against depression started there.
You have 100% permission to steal this article and repost it wherever you need to, without a linkback. If people can suggest more resources in the comments, this piece will be updated appropriately.
Please: if you're in a low place, let the outpouring of emotion over Robin Williams demonstrate one thing: more people may be on your side than you think.
In addition to the above, the following goes out to all who know me personally. If you're feeling depressed (or if you have any other personal issues going on in your life), and you want someone to talk to, or even just a friend to hang out with, then please feel free to contact me, at any time of the day or night, via any communication method that you have for me - even if it means calling me in the middle of the night. If you are in need of a friend, I will be here for you.