How to Help Someone Who's Lonely, Isolated, or Depressed

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there are simple tangible steps you can

take to care for a loved one that's

lonely in this episode

dr. Varma shares those steps what can a

supporter do if they see a friend a

child or a loved one yes who's lonely to

show up to show up again and again and

again and that is giving the person the

message that I am NOT alone to also get

help for that person to steer them in

the direction of therapy they may need

medication loneliness itself is not a

medical condition it can be a normal

part of life just like a person has

experienced a job loss or a breakup it

is normal to feel lonely in this survey

however almost 50 percent of people said

that they felt lonely some or all of the

time that is concerning it's concerning

to me that I have to quote you this

statistic as being the new norm mmhmm

right like if I ever get to the point

where I was like oh yeah depression is

not a big deal everybody has it it's the

norm that's a problem it's a problem

when you asked me or when I said to you

that you know what everyone feels lonely

every now and then you don't need to

medicate them I'm not saying medication

is the treatment for loneliness right

loneliness can be a normal part of life

but loneliness when it leads to

depression and if that depression left

unchecked goes on you're definitely

gonna need therapy right you may also

need medication if the person is

starting to their behavior is very

concerning and not taking care of

themselves not eating you know we do

know we did a whole series on depression

and if suicide is an issue but it

bothers me that close to you know

somewhere between 40 and you know 48

percent of people say that they feel

lonely most of the time and and

specifically the youngest generation

that's really really really sad because

you are putting a whole generation of

people out there who are at risk for

depression by the very nature of the

fact that they're feeling lonely

loneliness leads to I mentioned

morbidity mortality heart disease

physical problems this is a problem this

is a public health crisis if you have

people who are at risk

for everything bad that could possibly

happen to somebody obesity the blood

pressure the diabetes the depression the

anxiety the substance abuse that is a

problem that we need to do something

about well and it starts with that

compassionate listening yes and to get

there I would urge people to practice

compassionate questioning hmm I've

learned one thing over and over and over

doing these series that the power of

sitting down with somebody and asking a

heartfelt compassionate question gets

you so far so fast so early it's not

good oh how are you oh good bullet

you know yesterday someone called me on

the phone and they go how are you which

everyone does and I said I'm fine and he

goes I'm doing good it's just been our

norm yeah let's let's not make that the

norm either when I ask somebody how are

you I was because I I want to know how

you are yes if I asked somebody what

what have you been thinking about lately

it's because I want to know if I'm

asking somebody have you thought about

hurting yourself

mmm-hmm have you thought about killing

yourself mm-hmm it's because there is a

concern there yeah that we need to

address so that we can take the proper

action yes so compassionate listening

yeah happens when compassionate

questioning occurs that's wonderful I'm

so glad that you said that Kyle because

so many people don't know how to engage

in compassionate questioning they're

afraid of a variety of things they're

afraid of seeming too intrusive right

they don't know how to ask or they're

afraid because they're afraid they're

gonna plant seeds in somebody's minds

when we had talked about suicide and and

supporters how do they approach that

topic so many parents are saying I don't

want to plant seeds I don't want to go

there if they're not talking and I'm

like you're not planting anything that

hasn't already been there someone is so

good when you had shared with me but

with Kevin Hines and that interview

about if you want to share that like he

wanted people to ask and if anyone I had

asked that one question yeah right yeah

he the Kevin Hines jumped off the Golden

Gate Bridge he survived on his way to

the Golden Gate Bridge to jump he said

if anybody had come up and asked me

am I thinking about hurting myself am i

thinking about killing myself or even

are you okay mm-hmm he goes I would have

snapped out of it you were on the bus

hoping somebody would notice you

somebody would ask you that question

are you okay are you planning on harming

yourself yeah

and the when I'm reading that and I know

when a lot of people else did you even

say on page three I didn't jump because

I wanted to die I believed it was my

only option the only course to take that

a dive of these two hands from paint I

was wrong I was wrong nobody and he's in

tears on a public bus he's in fear shame

walking mm-hmm not one person yes asked

him yes powerful lesson and you know

like just the way that we have first-aid

we should have psychological first aid

what do you do when you see someone on

the street who is very visibly shaken up

they're sad we need to have resources if

you're not equipped and that's fine

where do you point them right thank you

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