Are you wondering how to help someone with depression? This can seem a daunting task, but just a little bit of help from you can turn out to be crucial for the person who is depressed. Depression is typically accompanied by isolation, so a supportive family member or a good friend has a chance of making a big difference. But at times even a concerned friend is at a loss about what to do.
How to help someone with depression: Educating yourself
First of all, know what you’re dealing with. Educate yourself on what depression really is about and what its symptoms, causes and treatments are, so that you’ll able to help the person you care about better. Go to the library, pick up a book or even look up resources online (obviously what you’re doing now!). What symptoms of depression are present? Is it just the blues, a mood swing, or true clinical depression? What type of depression is it? Is it bipolar disorder, major depression, seasonal depression? Is it an illness or a disease? How is the mental health of the person affected? Is it just all in the mind?
It’s essential that you know what to look for when you’re trying to help your friend or family member. While you’re learning how to help someone with depression, educate them as well. Give them the information they need to help themselves. Pick up a book on depression and give it to them or maybe take them to a seminar on depression in your local area. You and your friend or family member could attend together, and he’ll be sure that he has the support he needs from you.
Secondly, encourage your loved one to identify the reason that they are feeling depressed. Tell them that talking about it and sharing their feelings can help them get it out of their system and that they can trust you to understand. Tell them that it will be beneficial for them to go see a psychiatrist or a psychologist but don’t force them into it if they don’t want to. Take it one day at a time and slowly build the steps towards recovery.
How to help someone with depression: Offering help and support
Provide the depressed person with practical help. For example, when they have to go for a therapy session, you could offer to babysit or maybe even give them a ride. Accompany them to the doctor, take note of any prescribed medication, then try to make sure they actually take the medication.
But the best answer to “how to help someone with depression” is to offer support. Ask them if they’d like you to go along with them for the therapy sessions, especially when they’re going for the first time. Knowing that there is someone is by their side and knowing that they can trust you goes a long way towards recovery. The person who is depressed also needs to engage in more group activities; you could offer to take a trip to together or maybe even join exercise classes together to give him or her company. They may be reluctant because the depression makes them weak and unmotivated, but firmly insist to them that it’s a good idea and that it will help them feel better about themselves.
When you’re faced with the question of how to help someone with depression, the most important thing you can do is to never give up hope. It may feel like they don’t want your help or that they can’t seem to snap out of it (don’t tell them to do this, because they truly can’t) but don’t get discouraged. Don’t criticize them or further lower their self-esteem because a person dealing with depression already has an overly critical attitude towards him or herself. With the right kind of support and treatment, your friend or family member could have a chance at a normal, happy, and productive life in spite of the fact that they are vulnerable to depression. Learning how to help someone with depression is not easy, but do not give up on your loved one.