If you suspect that a friend or family member is struggling with depression, anxiety or another mental disorder, the best thing you can do is speak up. Dealing with mental illness can be lonely, isolating and frightening, so let the person know that they are not alone. Reassure them that their situation is not unusual; in fact, one in four adult San Diegans suffers from mental health challenges, and treatment is readily available. Read more about mental illness.
Once you've opened the door to talking about mental illness, listen up and ask questions. Listen to what the person is sharing with you. Ask questions, to let them know you’re hearing them and respect what they’re going through; they might not necessarily understand it themselves. Above all, don't minimize their symptoms or expect them to simply snap out of it. Mental disorders are medical conditions, and are just as important to address as physical health. Use the resources available here to read up about the particular illness they might be facing.
Encourage your friend or loved one to seek professional treatment. Offer to help find the appropriate resources together. Offer to make an appointment with a doctor or counselor and volunteer to accompany them. It is often very helpful to have a trusted friend or family member go along to ask questions, take notes, and simply provide support. Don’t underestimate the importance of your support, time and help. You can be a vital piece of your loved one's recovery.