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Local Girl Scout creates resources to support loved ones with depression

09/28/20 11:37:am
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When high schooler Lauren Roskopf’s friend was struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, she was unsure what to say and how to act around her. As a result, she experienced emotional stress and began to worry that she wasn’t being a good friend despite her best intentions. Recognizing that others were likely in the same position as her, Lauren had an idea.

“There are lots of resources for people with depression, but I wanted to make the world a better place by reaching out to a less targeted audience: their friends,” explains Lauren, a Brookfield, Wisconsin, native. “I wanted to learn more about the emotions experienced by being friends with someone with depression and help educate others about those conditions, such as secondary vicarious trauma. I was inspired to share this with others with the hope that no other teens go through what I experienced.”

True to her word, Lauren began to work on a project that would help people understand how they could support a loved one suffering, while also making sure to take care of themselves. This provided the perfect opportunity for Lauren to earn the prestigious Gold Award, which is given to Girl Scouts making a difference in their community.

After working with a family psychologist and spending time researching the topic, Lauren conducted a survey of teens with depression to learn what support they needed from friends and family.

The result of her hard work was a presentation, posters, and pamphlets that are now being distributed at schools, online, and in clinics, including at Rogers. Additionally, the presentation has been incorporated into the health class curriculum at her high school. Among the resources and tips shared in the materials are self-care ideas to aid emotional health, helpful phrases to use when having a conversation with a friend who is struggling, and what to do if your friend is suicidal.

Lauren is proud to have earned the Gold Award, but she is even more encouraged by the lasting impact of her project and is grateful for the help in spreading awareness.

“I hope people will feel comfort in knowing that their feelings are valid and that there are real conditions that can come from being close to people with depression.”

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