Do you know someone who is feeling depressed? Are you wondering what you can do to help them? On this helpful page you can find my very best tips to help you offer your support to another. Be warned though, a depressed person may not appear to want your help, or may not have admitted to themselves that they need any help. It can therefore be extremely difficult and require care. I hope the following tips will help you.
How to help a depressed person
- Listen – this is the most important thing you can do with a depressed person. The last thing they want is to feel alone. Depression is so much stronger when it can attack a person who is feeling isolated or fragile. By listening you allow someone with depression the freedom to release their emotions and feelings, and when they are able express them, it helps enormously. Your act of listening will help your friend or loved one in many ways.
- Discuss the reason for your friend’s depression. Sometimes there is an obvious reason and sometimes there isn’t. If there is, you can let the person talk about why they feel depressed. This “why” leads to possible solutions. Even if there appears to be no clear reason then talking will still help.
- Sympathize – show your friend that you understand the pain they are going through and tell them you’ll try to help.
- Offer hope – be positive, and if you’ve experienced depression before, explain that you got over it and share what you did.
- Suggest he/ she get professional help if your friend has moderate or serious depression. Follow up and make sure your friend goes through with attempts to get help and ask how it is going afterwards. If the person is not completely happy about seeking help you might offer to go with them to make it easier.
- Be positive – smile and show how much you care. This will give comfort and hope which are strong emotions in the fight against negative feelings.
- Encourage your friend to get exercise. You can also offer to do some kind of activity together or invite your friend to join you and others in a group activity that involves physical exercise. Remember that exercise has both mental and physical benefits and is a powerful weapon against depression.
- Tell your friend that you are there for them whenever they need you.
- If you are close to the person concerned you might offer to cook with them in order to improve the quality of the diet that the depressed person is eating. Foods have a significant role in mental and physical health and foods, vitamins and herbs can help with depression.
How to be supportive
It is not easy to be supportive without it taking a toll on you. Please pay attention to the stress it places on you and make sure to stay healthy and positive so you can better support the depressed person you are trying to help.
Make sure that you show you understand what depression means to the other person. If you have experienced it yourself then, fine, but if you haven’t, there is a danger that you may not be able to fully sympathise and comprehend what depressed people often go through. If this is the case do some research and educate yourself. Realise that depression is a sickness that prevents someone from seeing the positive things in life. All is black and painful. Understand that although the reasons for it may not be obvious the symptoms are real and can be life-threatening.
Don’t make the mistake of telling your friend to “snap out of it” or to “look on the bright side”. These comments belittle depression and show that you are thinking your friend can easily escape the grip that depression has on them, it’s not that easy! Never underestimate the destructive power of depression.
Other important things you can do to support your friend or family member
As one of the most common symptoms of depression is being tired, you can offer to help with tasks that your depressed friend either cannot do or doesn’t want to do. For example, simple things like watering plants or helping to look after a pet. You shouldn’t be taking over these activities, just helping out for a temporary period until the other person feels better.
Be very attentive to any words or actions that indicate the person is having thoughts of suicide, no matter how insignificant they might appear, take them seriously. If you are worried seek help and a advice. If the person is suicidal then do not leave them alone without ensuring they feel better.
Help the other person to keep up with any treatment they are following, and if you see improvements be sure to highlight them. Genuine encouragement is never totally wasted.
Look after yourself too
Negative thoughts and feelings can easily transmit themselves to you, so make sure you are strong and take care to preserve your positive mental health. To be around a depressed person can drain you, so make sure you give yourself time away to enjoy yourself too. Do not become a slave to the person you are trying to help because a tired and irritable person is no use to them, you need to be at your best.
Be careful not to get too frustrated or upset if your support and help does not seem to be helping the other person. It is often necessary to wait for improvement and it is not going to happen overnight. If you really feel that you are not able to help the person or that they refuse to be helped then be prepared at a certain point to walk away. You deserve a life too!
One of the best medicines of all for depression is LOVE. The best thing you can do to help a depressed person is to tell them how much you care for them and ensure that they understand how much they are loved. This can work wonders!
Now you have some tips and know how to help someone with depression. Good luck, it is not an easy job. Depressed people can be stressed and angry and difficult to talk to. Don’t give up and don’t expect thanks when they are stuck in the dark fog that is depression.
Know someone who is depressed? Here is a program that will help: Become Depression Free – wonderful hypnosis program will put you in control, go get it now!