Depression: How to Help Others

Updated: 01/08/2014 10:51 PM
Created: 01/08/2014 4:43 PM

A young man, suffering from depression, took his own life and the life of a long-time friend on Monday. That's according to authorities in southeastern Minnesota.

The young man was a student at UMD. His name is Nicholas Roeker. He was 19-years-old. His friend, 18-year-old Kayla Koranda, went to visit him on that fateful day. Authorities said the two were friends from childhood.

Here in Duluth, we asked a mental health professional how to approach someone who we might be worried is dealing with depression.

We spoke with Rick Gertsema, who is the clinical supervisor at Essentia Health Duluth's Amberwing. It's where young people, ages birth to 25, can get help with mental health issues.

Gertsema said, "When in doubt, ask. Talk openly about the symptoms of depression. It's much better to bring it forward and ask the question. What it does, when you ask the question, is decrease the stigma."

But if you can't handle a situation by yourself, that's OK too.

"If intuitively it feels like it's too big, or it feels out of control. It likely is. Then you can reach out to professionals. Use crisis lines, referral centers, and community mental health centers," he said.

At Amberwing, there's a Family Resource Center, where anyone can come and get information about helping those with their mental health. This is supported by the Miller Dwan Foundation.

This time of year can be particularly hard for people, Gertesema said. "we just started the New Year. But people may not feel like they are experiencing a new beginning," he told us.

UMD released a statement from Chancellor Dr. Lendley Black, about the apparent murder-suicide.

"We are deeply concerned for everyone who has been touched by this tragedy. Our sincerest sympathies go out to the families and friends who are grieving. UMD will be reaching out to assist and support students and other members of the campus community."

Amberwing 24-hour Crisis Hotline: 218-723-0099

And here's a link to other mental health resources in the area:

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