As mentioned, depression comes in a variety of forms and severities. The stresses and strains of everyday life are often accompanied by some of the symptoms mentioned. Many people find ways to cope with these ups and downs without too much effort.
But for those who are afflicted by high levels of chronic, medication resistant depression, it can take the observations of an outside person to recognize when urgent action is needed. The depth of depression felt by a person can be so severe that even they don’t recognize or understand where they are on the depression continuum. A point where they feel so hopeless that taking their own life seems like the only alternative.
Since depression evolves with time, friends and family are probably aware of the issue in an individual’s life. These people need to be particularly alert to the severity of a downward spiral and recognize the importance of having an emergency plan to address them. Having access to the individual’s medical care team and local emergency services is a good start. The decision to activate these resources will most likely come from these observers without the recognition or consent of the sufferer...isn’t that what friends and family are for?