Sally Yates: When Darkness Falls

Sally Yates is the former Deputy Attorney General and Acting Attorney General of the United States. In a touching and beautifully written article her Dad’s battle with depression is shared.

(CNN)It was May 6, 1986, and I was just days away from graduating from law school. Late in the afternoon, my mother called the Law Review office looking for me. I had just left to grab a quick dinner before settling in for a long night of studying for exams. My friend who answered the phone that afternoon would be asked to do something no friend should have to do — tell me that my father was dead.

This was in the days before the advent of cell phones, so there was no real way to track me down. My friend knew that I was going to the local Kinko’s copy shop (another sign of the 1980’s) before returning to the library, and was waiting outside the shop when I arrived. He told me that my mother had called, and that my father had died.

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What To Do When A Loved One Is Severely Depressed

At a suicide prevention event at Walla Walla High School in Walla Walla, Wash., last month, participants choose necklaces of different colors representing how suicide had affected their lives.CreditGreg Lehman/Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, via Associated Press

Heather Murphy wrote an article for the New York Times that provided some helpful tips from experts to help somebody that may be struggling with depression.

Reports of Kate Spade’s suicide and struggle with depression instantly transformed her from symbol of polished prep to a blunt reminder that suffering affects all types. Three days later we woke to the news that another beloved figure, Anthony Bourdain, had taken his life.

These two tragedies have inspired hundreds to tweet some version of the same message: Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of.

But deep in the comment threads, some have also been debating a more uncomfortable question: What do you do when a friend is depressed for such a long time that you’ve started to feel that that nothing you can do will make a difference, and your empathy reserves are tapped out? There are no easy answers. But here are some tips from experts:

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