To someone without depression, the seemingly invisible condition can seem like a simple lack of will power - “Why don't you just cheer up?,” desire for drama or attention - “You make such a big deal out of everything. Life isn't really that bad, so many people have it so much worse than you do. Get over it,” or worst of all, selfishness - “How could anyone even think of suicide? Think of all the people you would hurt!” The problem is that none of that is true. The real issue is that a person with depression suffers from a condition just as real as chicken pox or the flu. Society does not blame people who have chicken pox or the flu, but we do blame people with depression for their symptoms.
Depending on which studies you look at depression is either caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain or it is not, but either way it is a clearly diagnosable condition that many people suffer from. It is not a moral failing. It does not mean someone is crazy. It does not mean they are weak or a bad person. It means they are suffering from a medically diagnosable condition. That is it. As such there are many things that can be done for it.
The first thing is simply acknowledging something is wrong and that they need help. When someone is deep in depression, they often do not realize it. Their minds believe the wrong thinking that they are worthless, there is nothing good in life and that no one wants them around. It might seem impossible to believe for people who love them, but it can make perfect sense to someone who is depressed and suicidal that killing themselves would make everyone else's lives easier. Do not expect someone who is depressed to stand up and say, “I am depressed and I need help.” Some people might, but more often than not, they need a guiding hand.
The second thing is to get a diagnosis and get treated. Even without insurance there are low cost options, often available through your county, local religious groups or hospitals. A diagnosis does not necessarily mean medication, but it might. Medication for depression can save lives. A pill is always better than a coffin! There are other options available if the depression is not severe enough to need immediate medication: talk therapy, meditation, exercise, fish oil, vitamin D, 5-HTP, as well as several herbal supplements like St. John's Wort a holy basil. Cutting out sugars and processed foods can help as well.
A pagan with depression should also try to work on their connection to the divine and spend time in nature. These can be very important to healing. Trying to remember what matters and finding the beauty in the world around them again, like a child seeing it for the first time, can help break the wrong thinking cycle. A depressed person, if they can, should spend time just looking at a flower, a stunning panorama, or the simple joy or an animal playing or running simply to run. Divine is all around us, everyone is a part of the divine and, as such, everyone matters and are special, but that is hard to remember in the depths of depression. Remind them.
The most important aspect of recovery from depression is support. If someone does not have a strong support network and then feels alone and worthless due to depression it is much harder to see the light at the end of the tunnel. You could be someone's hero just by giving them a kind word, letting them cry on your shoulder and being brave enough to ask them if they are okay. The worst that will happen if you ask a friend who seems in pain if they are considering suicide is that they will say no and know that you care enough about them to ask. If they say yes, you might have just saved a life. Hard questions might not be politically correct, but they can save lives. It is better to “overreact” than to lose a friend.