By Amanda Roland
About this time one year ago, my brother was living with his boyfriend in Gainesville, and I was living at home with my parents. We would text each other occasionally, see each other about every other week, and we would never talk about mental health. Typical bro and sis relationship, right?
During this time, my brother was struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, and I didn’t even notice or ask how he was really doing.
Looking back, there were things I should have picked up on. Our communication was sparse and he never really talked about any joy in his life regarding his relationship, job or family.
While it may be easy to try and look for signs of struggle, sometimes it’s impossible. Depression can affect anyone, and a lot of times it can go completely unnoticed, even in family. That’s why it is so important to do one simple thing: Ask!
Whether you think a family member or friend is struggling with mental health or not, there is no harm in simply asking “hey, how are you really feeling today?” Also, saying “you know I’m always here for you if you need to talk” might be what they have been longing to hear.
I wish I would have asked my brother more about his mental health last year. Thankfully, after seeing a therapist and changing a few things in his life, my brother was able to overcome a lot of his struggles. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, talk to someone about it or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.