Depression and mental health have been hot topic subjects of late and sometimes spotting the signs can be difficult.

We spoke to psychotherapist Andrew Smith clinical director of TherAppUK Ltd who gave us 10 pointers to look out for.

1. Social Withdrawal.

This is when someone may become more withdrawn from social activities, and not be as interested in going out and socialising. However, more importantly, they may not be doing anything else as an alternative. Give them an invite to something and mean it. As a therapist, we often use the boundary of a session to gently challenge clients who would wish to withdraw.

2. Being Less communicative.

Has the talking stopped? Keep the conversation going. It can really help if the person opposite really feels like you care about what they are saying.

Most people who are struggling with difficult feelings and experiences often lose an ability to engage in dialogue with their loved ones. This happens over time and is a gradual response to depressive feelings. Keep talking, even if it feels like drivel, and really listen to what people are saying. It is very difficult to push away someone who is genuinely interested in you.

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3. Isolation.

This is the effect, not always the cause. Pop around to see them, offer to help out, and persevere. Often, the message that someone is not going away, no matter how hard they are going to be pushed, is so important. Therapy is a further way of helping this, in a far less pressured way.

4. Health.

As we descend into the spiral of depression and anxiety, we often lose sight of how taking care of ourselves (better things to worry about), and gradually this can lead to poorer choices in food, sexual health, financial matters, and exercise. Ironically, good choices in all of these can help immensely in our recovery. So ‘encourage’ someone to take up a new activity with you (yoga can be amazing), try a meditation class, and cook some healthy food together.

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