According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about 21 million adults suffer from depression in the United States.
Because depression is considered one of the most common mental health disorders, there are good chances that you or someone dear to you has experienced at least one depressive episode in their life.
When someone in your family or friends circle is going through a depressive phase, you may wonder how you can help. You may even have challenging feelings of your own, such as disappointment, worry, and anger.
This article will provide the top ten ways to help someone with depression. It focuses on different approaches you can use to offer support and encourage a loved one to get treatment for their mental health condition.
Depression, a type of mood disorder, can affect a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It can have an effect on many aspects of a person’s life, including sleeping and eating habits, performance at work or school, and interpersonal relationships.
Depression may be classified into different types:
- Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
- Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
- Bipolar Disorder
- Psychotic Depression
- Postpartum Depression
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Signs and Symptoms That Someone Needs Help
Depression symptoms vary from person to person. The most common symptoms of depression include:
- Low mood
- Irritability, angry outbursts, or frustration
- Loss of interest or pleasure in different activities and social events
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Lack of energy or tiredness, so even small tasks take extra effort
- Changes in appetite
- Anxiety, agitation, or restlessness
- Slower speech
- Slowed body movements
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Trouble concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things
- Suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, or suicide
For many people suffering from depression, symptoms might be serious enough to cause noticeable problems with day-to-day activities, including school, work, social activities, or interpersonal relationships. Others may generally feel unhappy without knowing why.
Children and teens may exhibit depression by being irritable or grumpy instead of sad. Clinical depression may not require profound sadness. Rather, it can be a lack of positive feelings instead of intense negative emotions.
Top 10 Ways To Help Someone With Depression
It may be heartbreaking to see someone we care about suffer with their mental health. We may want to do everything we can to help but are unsure of the right thing to say or do to show our support.
Here are the top 10 tips on how to help someone suffering from depression.
Educate Yourself About Depression
We will be able to provide better support if we learn more about our loved one’s mental health struggles. Learn more about depression symptoms.
Some common symptoms include a persistent feeling of hopelessness or sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, lack of energy, and disturbances in sleeping and eating habits.
It’s also crucial to know that there are several forms of depression and experiences that people might have. There are several great online resources available that can provide you with factual information about depression.
Listen To Them Without Judgement
The last thing someone suffering from depression wants is to feel judged or criticized. If your loved one is willing to share their experiences with you, make sure you listen to them without passing judgment.
You must understand that depression is a chronic illness, and your loved one is not to blame for being sick. Depression has no boundaries and can affect anyone.
Support your loved one in the same nonjudgmental manner as you would support someone suffering from a physical health condition, such as cancer.
It’s OK to ask questions, but don’t do so with judgment. For instance, you can ask, “What do you think is making you feel this way?” rather than “You have such a wonderful life; why do you feel this way?”
Just be patient with your loved one; recovery from a mental health condition is a long-term process.
People suffering from depression usually feel hopeless. You can give your loved ones true hope by reminding them of the things worth living for.
Remember that this is not the same as toxic positivity. Avoid phrases like “Just be thankful for everything you have” and “Don’t worry; everything will be alright.”
Instead, question them about the things that make their lives valuable. For example, ask about hobbies or a pet you know they love.
Offer To Help With Everyday Tasks
Depression can have an adverse effect not only on the emotional aspects of a person’s life but also on the more practical aspects. Due to a lack of energy or overall interest in day-to-day life, depressed individuals may struggle to keep up with everyday chores and responsibilities.
It can be helpful to provide practical help to a loved one whenever they need it. Ask them about how you can help them. It may include completing their weekly grocery shopping, helping with cleaning or laundry, or even cooking a meal.
In addition, these little gestures to let your loved one know you care about them can go a long way. Surprise them with flowers, buy them their favorite magazine, call them to tell them you love them, or simply sit with them in solitude – all of these things may be really helpful.
Keep Reaching Out
People suffering from depression sometimes withdraw themselves from their loved ones. You may find that you are pushed away when you show your support for a loved one. Perhaps your loved one has stopped replying to your messages or answering “yes” to your invites.
Continue to reach out without taking things personally. Even if your loved one lacks the energy to participate in your efforts, just knowing that someone cares about them can make a difference.
Reaching out also helps your loved one to easily resume spending time with friends and family when they feel ready.
Encourage Professional Help
Encourage someone dear to you with depression to seek medical help. Depression is a treatable condition with a combination of medications and therapies. Let your loved one know about the benefits of receiving treatment and offer to help them in making appointments if necessary.
It is especially important for someone suffering from depression to get treatment if their depression has progressed to the point of suicidal ideation. Be aware of signs of depression and possible suicide warning signs.
Keep in mind to take care of yourself while assisting a loved one suffering from depression. Prioritizing your own mental health and well-being is equally vital. Throughout this process, be patient and gentle to yourself.
Be Prepared To Act in Emergency Situations
If you have any concerns that your loved one will harm themselves, you must intervene and take action. If you believe your loved one is about to commit suicide, contact emergency services.
It can be a hard decision for you to make if your loved one insists that they don’t need help. In the short term, they may even hate you for interfering. They will, however, thank you for your prompt intervention when they feel better.
Dealing with a depressed loved one can be pretty frustrating. You might want to move away and go on with your everyday life at times. But don’t be too frustrated.
Don’t abandon a loved one when they need you the most. Anyone can be affected by depression. You might be the next person who needs depression treatment.
Celebrate Their Successes
Recognizing and crediting your achievements can be hard when you’re going through a difficult time. It’s also difficult to recognize your own progress and development.
Congratulate your loved one and do something pleasant together when they take a step in confronting their concerns or improving their well-being. Help them in feeling proud of themselves.
Take Care of Yourself
When you’re helping someone with depression, it’s essential that you don’t get caught up in the process. It will be difficult to navigate a relationship with a depressed family member, a close friend, or a spouse.
If you want to help others, you must first take care of yourself. This is especially important to remember if you suffer from depressive symptoms.
Even if you are not depressed, you cannot sacrifice your mental health in order to care for someone else, no matter how much they are dear to you.
Trying to find out ways to help someone who is depressed can be exhausting; if you need help yourself, take the time to get it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What do you suggest to do if a person suffers from depression?
Here are a few useful tips that will help you be a center of support for a depressed person:
Learn about depression on your own
Start a conversation by asking specific questions and sharing some concerns
Help them find support
Support them with continuing therapy
Offer help with daily chores and responsibilities
Stay in touch
Take care of yourself
What can you do to help people who are experiencing depression?
It might be tough to know how you can help a person who is experiencing depression. Here are a few things you may do to support a loved one who is depressed.
Educate yourself about depression
Take their medical condition seriously
Be a good listener
Encourage them to seek professional help
Offer help with day-to-day tasks
Do not try to be an expert
Avoid judgment and blame
Be prepared to act in case of emergency
How can I help my friend with depression?
Here are the different ways you can help your depressed friend:
Learn about what your friend is going through
Be open and welcoming, and listen
Take their feelings seriously
Help them find support
Continue supporting them and respond to emergencies
Celebrate their successes
Take care of your own health
How to help someone with depression who won’t talk?
Respect their decision not to talk with you about the problem. Tell them you know how difficult it is to discuss mental health. Let them know you’re available when they’re ready to chat.
Recognize that they may never be ready to talk with you about their mental health issues. Don’t take it personally; instead, find other useful ways to help them. Spend some time with them.
Have a good time together. Watch a TV program together or go out to dinner. Offer to drive them to their therapist or doctor’s appointment, especially if it’s their first time. Just try to support them in any healthy way you can.
If and when they finally open up to talk about their depression, just listen and don’t take this chance to give advice and tell them how you feel.
Indiana Center for Recovery – Start Living, Not Surviving
If your loved one’s depression symptoms are interfering with their ability to lead a normal life, it may be time to seek professional treatment. Encourage them to get professional help from a mental health provider.
At Indiana Center for Recovery, our mental health professionals can work with your loved one to develop a recovery program that fits their needs and circumstances. We offer inpatient care, outpatient care, dual diagnosis treatment, and evidence-based therapies (such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing and cognitive behavioral therapy).
Along with mental health treatment, our healthcare providers also treat all sorts of substance use disorders (SUDs), starting from our medically-supervised detoxification program.
For more helpful information or to learn about our treatment options, contact us at (844) 650-0064 today!