How Can You Help Someone with Depression?
Depression is a serious but treatable mental health condition that affects millions of people, from young to old and from all walks of life. If someone you love is suffering from depression, you may be experiencing a variety of emotions, including frustration, helplessness, anger, fear, guilt, and sadness. Here we’ll outline the things you can do to help them better manage their condition.
Learn more about the symptoms and treatment of depression.
If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Hotline at 1-800-662-4357 for more information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
How to Help Someone with Depression
Below we’ll list some things you can do to help someone with depression:
Listen to Them
Let them know you’re there for them. Let them know you’re concerned and want to help. Ask questions without being pushy, like “It seems like you’re having a hard time lately. What’s on your mind?” It’s important to remember that even though your friend may want to talk about how they feel, they may not want advice.
Help Them Find Support
It’s possible that your friend may not know they’re dealing with depression or know how they can reach out for support. If your friend seems interested in counseling, offer to help them screen potential therapists.
Support Them During Their Therapy
Depression can make them want to stay inside and self-isolate, which can make them decide to cancel an appointment. Be supportive and remind them that therapy takes time and it’s important to keep going. If your friend is thinking about not taking their medications because of unpleasant side effects, be supportive and suggest that they talk with their physician about the possibility of switching to another antidepressant. Remind them that abruptly stopping their medications can have serious consequences.
Learn About Depression
Read up on the symptoms, causes, diagnosis criteria, and treatments of depression. While people experience depression differently, you’ll be able to have more meaningful conversations with your friend if you’re familiar with the general symptoms and terminology.
Offer to Help with Everyday Tasks
For people suffering from depression, simply completing day-to-day tasks can be overwhelming. Instead of telling them to call you if they need help, ask them, “What can I help you with today?” Take them grocery shopping, help them do their laundry, or offer to help with their dishes. Make it fun by putting some music on. Simply having someone there can make catching up on tasks less daunting.
Take Care of Yourself
You can’t take care of someone else if you’re feeling overwhelmed and depleted yourself. It’s important to take a step back and recharge yourself from time to time.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
Depression can be demanding for both you and your friend who’s suffering from it. Remember that your feelings are a valid response to a challenging situation. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk with a friend or counselor rather than allowing those feelings to build up.
Know the Various Forms Depression Can Take
Depression often involves sadness or a low mood, but there are other, less known symptoms like:
- Anger and irritability
- Confusion, memory problems, or difficulty focusing
- Excessive fatigue or sleep issues
- Physical symptoms such as stomach distress, frequent headaches, or back and other muscle pain
If you notice these symptoms in your friend, try to remember that it may the depression that’s causing them and offer your support.
Extend Loose Invitations
For people with depression, it can be difficult to reach out to friends or make plans. Reassure your friend that you understand if they can’t make it to an activity and that you’re happy to see them when they’re ready.
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Seek Professional Support
If you or someone you love is suffering from depression, it’s important to know that help is out there. Connect with a provider from Baptist Health if you or a loved one is seeking depression treatment.
Useful Resources and Next Steps: