Ways To Support A Loved One With Depression

Marie Claire, Ways To Support A Loved One With Depression

Depression has ripple effects that impact not just the person experiencing it but also the people who they are closest to. Family members and loved ones in particular can feel quite helpless standing by and watching someone they love succumb to the sadness of depression while not knowing how to be of help. It's not always easy to know what to say or do when a person you care about is suffering from depression but there are some ways which you can help.

Educate yourself about this medical condition
Depression is a medical illness and not an emotional phase of being moody, lazy, or an exaggerated reaction to a traumatic event. Depression is a common condition that affects one in 10 women and one in 20 men at any time. The best way to help a loved one experiencing depression is by educating yourself on this condition. Learning to recognize what depression is, along with it's symptoms and causes will help you to empathize and get some understanding of what the person may be dealing with. It also makes it easier for you to support them through their various emotional episodes, like knowing when to give them space and when you make yourself available to them.

Be open, welcoming, and listen
It can be quite challenging for someone battling depression to speak to anyone about it. So, the last thing you want to do is make them feel that you are not prepared to listen or openly talk about their constant battle with this mental condition. The simple act of just listening to them goes a long way as it assures them that someone is there for them and cares. Don't push them if they're not ready to talk about it. You should start by acknowledging that their depression is real and that you're there to listen and support them when they are ready or want to open up about it.

Encourage treatment
Many people living with depression may not acknowledge or even recognize that they're depressed. On the other hand, many people who have found out they are depressed may not be ready to come to terms with it and try to avoid or deny the condition for various reasons. A common cause is they do not want to be seen as weak. These circumstances often prevent depressed people from getting the help they need and taking advantage of treatment and/or medication options. This only makes their battle with depression more difficult. It would be best to encourage them to take treatment by speaking to them about what they're going through, express your willingness to help and support, and suggest professional assistance.

Find ways to make them smile

Laughter, they say, is the best medicine. For depression, laughter can be a great way to lower stress levels and ease emotional turmoil. Studies have shown that laughter and humor can be effective at lessening anxiety by increasing dopamine and serotonin levels, the "happy"chemicals, in the brain.  Even if you don't think you have what it takes to make people laugh, there are other ways to put a smile on a depressed loved one's face. You can try buying their favorite treat or sending them flowers to let them know you're thinking about them. Regardless of where you live, you can find award winning flower delivery companies that will ensure your present will be delivered  to cheer up your loved one.

Continue to offer your support
Your continued support is all that matters in most cases. There will be times when they will not want to leave their rooms or even speak to anybody, but this is where you need to assure them even more that they're not alone and that you're there for them.

This is a contributed post.

3 comments

Pilar said...

Thank you for sharing this Rowena. So many people live with depression including myself. Understanding and support from others are two elements that are helpful when coping with mental health issues.

Ivana Split said...

Nice tips. It's really important to get ourselves educated about mental illnesses so we can help others and ourselves.

Jackie Harrison said...

Very helpful tips so many out there live with depression we all should have empathy.