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How to Help Someone with Depression
It may be challenging to cope when you learn that your loved one has depression. If a person you care about has been recently diagnosed with depression, you may be wondering how you can support and help them.
Here are 6 tips on how to help someone with depression.
Do Your Research
If you lack knowledge on depression, you may find it difficult to emphasize with someone who has it. However, you can do research to learn more about this mental health disorder. This is especially important if you’ve never helped someone with depression before or if you have never experienced it yourself.
You can do a few things to learn more about depression. Some ways to get started include:
- Reading reputable articles and studies about depression on the internet
- Checking out books from your library on mental health and depression
- Asking a medical professional who works with those who have depression
- Reaching out to a group in your community that is dedicated to helping people learn about depression
Understand the Warning Signs
Another way to help someone with depression is to understand the signs and symptoms. This is especially important if you suspect someone may have depression, but they do not have a professional diagnosis.
- Feelings of sadness
- Being irritable or restless
- Loss of interest in hobbies
- A lack of energy to do tasks
- Unexplained physical problems such as back pain
- Eating more or less than usual
- Sleep issues, such as sleeping too much or trouble falling asleep
- Difficulty concentrating
- Inability to remember details
- Feelings of guilt or hopelessness
- Thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself
The signs and symptoms of depression may vary depending on each individual. It’s important to keep an eye out for these signs of depression so that way you can help your loved one when they experience them.
Encourage Professional Help
Sometimes, an individual may not realize that they are depressed. However, if they frequently experience the symptoms of depression, they will need to be told that they may need professional help.
Depression often needs professional treatments, such as medications and therapy, alongside positive support from loved ones. Here are some ways you can encourage your loved one with depression:
- Talk to your loved one. Tell them you’ve noticed that they’ve been acting different than normal. Let them know your concerns, but also hear their side. They could give you insight as to some of the root causes of their depression.
- Suggest seeing a medical professional. A medical professional will be able to give your loved one a professional diagnosis. You can research a few professionals near you who may be able to work best with your loved one.
- Offer support. You can offer to go with your loved one to appointments and support them throughout the treatment whole process. You can also help them through their depression by working together to answer questions or prepare for therapy sessions.
- Explain the benefits of treatment. Explain to your loved one that depression seldom resolves itself on its own. Tell them that the benefits of treatment will allow them to learn more about their mental health condition.
One key to helping someone with depression is offering support. Oftentimes, your loved one may feel like depression is something that they need to deal with on their own. However, showing that you can support and help them through the process can motivate them to achieve their goals.
Some ways you can offer your support to a person with depression include:
- Scheduling appointments
- Attending therapy sessions with them
- Helping your loved one organize questions before therapy
- Helping them take their prescribed medications
When someone learns that they have depression, they may feel like they are helpless and incapable of change. Oftentimes, people with depression may feel like the world is out of their control and that there is something wrong with them.
A key part of how to help someone with depression is to listen. You will have a better understanding of your loved one’s thoughts and feelings if you let them explain how they have been coping.
People with depression also need someone who cares about their problems. Because they may feel like they can’t control their world, someone who is there and offers empathy can be good support as they learn to cope with their depression.
When it is your time to speak after listening, reassure your loved one that nothing is wrong with them. You shouldn’t try to fix or change them, and instead, offer to talk without judgment.
Sometimes, people with depression may withdraw from others. You may need to encourage your loved one to talk to you every once in a while. Check in how they’re doing and let them know that you available whenever they want to talk.
Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle
Many people with depression may neglect to participate in their favorite activities or explore new hobbies. They may also fail to eat enough or will eat too much, and they might avoid exercising. However, people with depression should be encouraged to continue to live a healthy lifestyle as they cope with their condition.
You should help your loved one by becoming an example. You can include them in fun hobbies and offer to bring them along to different events.
You can also support healthy eating habits by cooking food at home that is healthy. A tip for eating healthier at home is adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. If your depressed loved one does not currently live with you, you can invite them over to share a healthy meal. Other ways you can help someone to live a healthy lifestyle is by encouraging regular physical activity and maintaining a sleep schedule.
Offer Practical Help
Many people with depression are unable to keep up with chores such as cleaning the house or stocking up on groceries. That’s because many with depression often experience a lack of motivation to do basic tasks.
You can help someone with depression by offering to help them with their tasks. Whether that’s walking the dog, grocery shopping, or cutting the grass, doing small tasks for someone with depression can help them get through the day and keep them from falling behind.
Other ways you can help may include bringing gifts that they may need. For example, if you notice your loved one needs a new coffee maker, you can purchase one for them as a gift. This is a way to support your loved one and help them keep up with the things that they use every day.
If your loved one declines to let you help them, be respectful of their decision. You can always think of other ways to help out in the future, or offer again when you think the time is right.
About Saber Healthcare
Saber Healthcare is an organization that provides skilled nursing care, rehabilitation, and assisted living services across the communities that we serve. To learn more about Saber Healthcare, click here.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- “Mental Health Conditions: Depression and Anxiety.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 14 September 2022. Accessed 24 February 2023. Link: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/diseases/depression-anxiety.html
- “Depression: Supporting a Family Member or Friend.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). 13 December 2022. Accessed 24 February 2023. Link: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression/art-20045943