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Should I intervene when I know someone is depressed?

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Question: We have a manager who recently decided to look for a less-stressful career path. She is young, early 30's, and suffers from depression (she lives alone, no children, very overweight and no friends/boyfriend or outside work activities). She treated her depression up until about a year ago.

I am not alone in thinking that she is making a mistake by leaving the position and taking a large pay cut when the job is not that stressful. She may not realize how depressed she is and that more than just work is making her unhappy.

I know that I can't change her decision. But I care about her personally and want to make sure she is OK and getting help for her depression. Am I stepping over boundaries? -- Anonymous


Comments

You sound like a caring person. Please speak to her. If nothing else, she will appreciate your offer to help. You may end up good friends, I've seen it happen.

I agree with Sandy :)
Offering your support and even just a sympathetic ear can often make all the difference in the world.

I think it's nice that you're concerned and want to help. I think it's okay to speak to her, but please be careful how you do it.

She made her decision to change jobs based on her own situation. You said that her old job was "not that stressful." To you, maybe it's not stressful. But to her, it must have been! Her situation is much different than yours due to the depression, and while her job change might not make sense to you, it was her choice.

When you approach her to talk about it, try to be supportive and not criticize her decision. Just say that you're concerned and wondered if there is anything you can do to help. She may just need someone to lend a (non-judgmental) ear if she needs to talk. It's easy to rush in and offer advice, but I think it's better to start off by just listening.

(PS - I suffered from a bout of depression about 14 years ago after my husband died, and appreciated all of the support people gave me. However, I did learn that people are often so anxious to help that they sometimes say things that come across as criticisms. It could push her away if you try to give too much advice, so be cautious!)

By all means, speak to her, she will glad to hear of your concern, especially if you would like to continue the friendship once she has left. She may also be needing a friend that she can talk to about her decision. but be understanding if she really does want to make this change. I will be making a change to a position make far less money to a position is more stressfull but it is something that I really want to do! I recently to a position that was less stressful and paid more money, but I really don't like. Sometimes a pay cut for a chance to do something you really want to do is the key to feeling better about yourself.

By all means, speak to her, she will glad to hear of your concern, especially if you would like to continue the friendship once she has left. She may also be needing a friend that she can talk to about her decision. but be understanding if she really does want to make this change. I will be making a change to a position make far less money to a position is more stressfull but it is something that I really want to do! I recently to a position that was less stressful and paid more money, but I really don't like. Sometimes a pay cut for a chance to do something you really want to do is the key to feeling better about yourself.

I agree with Tiffany. Lending a sympathetic ear might be just what she needs. She has no friends to speak of. My guess is her problems are related due to as you say "very over-weight", alone and in her 30's. It's a touchy subject but maybe you could get her to list what's troubling her the most and work on that. Once she starts to gain her confidence back everything else might fall into place. Have her reconsider the job. That too, is most likely related to her personal issues. If she's stressed now making a considerable amount less is not the answer. This will only add to the situation especially if she needs to make a certain income.

You should let this person know that you are telling her things because you care about her well being. This may be what she needs in order to get through this tough time. If you're up to it, give her your phone number so she can call you if she needs to talk because she may not be comfortable talking there.

There are so many variables to what could really be the root of her depression. I think you need to be sure that you want to take on a friend that is suffering with this because they may be a bit more needy than others...or they could completely withdraw from your friendship efforts. All I'm saying is to consider every angle. Having friends is wonderful, but the person really needs to be involved in those relationships. She probably doesn't want someone who is simply trying to 'fix' her. That said, depression is very dangerous. It might be a good idea to contact a professional about this rather than a bunch of people with mere 'opinions'! I hope you find the right path to take with this and that she will realize that she still needs help.

You should be commended for caring enough about her to wonder about all this.

I would ask her to dinner or coffee after work some night, and discuss it with her at that time. You have the privacy of being away from the office. Dinner is better than lunch, because at lunch you have a very limited time so the conversation must be over within 30 - 60 minutes. Go out somewhere after work and you have relatively unlimited time.

Good luck. Hopefully you can do her some good.

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