Top 10 Ways to Help Someone Who Has Depression
If someone you care for has depression, it can be challenging to know how best to help them. But there are things you can do.
Listening is one of the best ways you can support someone living with depression. Be patient and reassuring; recovery takes time.
Make sure that you take good care of yourself, too – being healthy will enable you to better assist your loved one.
2. Be there
By becoming well-informed on depression and its symptoms, you can help create more meaningful conversations with loved ones who may be struggling. Be wary of providing unsolicited advice that might backfire on them.
Encourage them to seek treatment for their depression. You could do this by reminding them to make an appointment with their healthcare provider, helping to schedule it and accompanying them during appointments.
3. Encourage them
Depression differs from mere sadness; people suffering from it require support in order to get better.
Encourage them by setting up a schedule for eating, medication, sleep and physical activity or organizing household chores; you could also remind them that recovery from depression is a process and they’ll get better soon enough.
4. Encourage them to get help
Encourage your loved one to seek assistance by reminding them that depression is a medical condition with treatments available, including therapy or medication.
Recommend that they contact a healthcare provider or mental health provider and offer to accompany them for their initial appointment. You could also suggest online or in-person support groups for people suffering from depression.
5. Offer support
Encourage them to engage in mood-enhancing activities and adopt healthy lifestyle practices such as getting enough restful sleep and participating in physical activities regularly. You could even help arrange for medical checkups if required.
Explain to them that depression is a health condition, not a mark of weakness or poor character. Offer to assist them in searching for a therapist and accompany them on their initial appointment.
6. Encourage them to take care of themselves
Depression is a personal and multi-layered experience. Try not to offer quick fixes or “helpful” advice that might seem quick-fix solutions.
Instead, encourage them to stick with their treatment plan, eat healthily, get enough restful sleep and forego alcohol or drugs altogether. Remind them what’s important in their lives and give hope. You may be able to find help online or through local support groups.
7. Offer to do things for them
Your loved one has taken an admirable step by seeking help for depression. Be there as they need you – support them by offering assistance however possible.
Avoid giving advice or offering comments that appear like quick fixes; depression is a serious condition and will take time for your friend to recover from. Instead, offer assistance by helping plan daily activities or chores so as to lessen stress on both of you.
8. Encourage them to get out of the house
Everyone has bad days, but clinical depression is an ongoing and more severe state of mental illness that requires professional assistance for relief. By offering practical help, providing emotional support or counseling could greatly assist someone suffering from this mental disorder.
If they keep cancelling plans, gently remind them that you are always available. Suggest counseling services; depression often improves with treatment.
9. Encourage them to try new things
Exercising, going for walks and leaving the house are all ways to help alleviate depression. But be careful to not enable anyone.
Depression can be difficult to discuss, but you can support your loved one by encouraging them to seek assistance and being there for them. Furthermore, offer help with daily tasks or driving them to appointments – this way they may feel less burdened and you will also have less responsibility yourself.
10. Encourage them to talk about their feelings
People unfamiliar with clinical depression often don’t grasp its severity, offering advice like telling someone they should just “cheer up”, or making comments that don’t resonate.
Assure them that depression is an actual medical condition and not something they should blame on themselves; assure them they have a good chance at healing themselves with treatment.
Encourage them to seek help by reminding them to make appointments and providing transportation if necessary.