Depression is a mental condition that can affect anyone regardless of age, ethnicity, income, culture, or level of education.1 This illness is characterized by low moods and feelings of sadness and hopelessness in sufferers. Depression may cause severe symptoms which can impact a person’s ability to function in daily tasks, including sleeping, eating, working, and socializing.2
Knowing the causes of depression will help you understand how to truly help someone with depression. Some of the main factors that increase a person’s chance of falling into depression include:
Although depression is a mental illness, it also affects a person’s physical health and wellbeing. Some of the effects of depression include:
Knowing how to support someone with depression begins with having information about the conditions, including signs sufferers may show. The signs and symptoms to look out for include:
Dealing with someone with depression can be very challenging. It may be hard to make sense of your friend’s new apathy towards things they used to love. While the situation may feel like a lost cause to you, knowing how to help someone with depression can go a long way in making them feel better. Here are some of the things you can do.
You are encouraged to be assertive when talking to someone with depression. This means you should communicate your feelings and concerns to your friend with depression. However, you should always consider their feelings in doing so.
This is one of the best ways of supporting someone with depression. You can’t do so much by yourself. You can play a big role in the person’s recovery by encouraging them to get support for depression.
Empathy involves putting yourself in one’s shoes in a nonjudgmental way to understand the person better. There are different types of depression with different triggers. 3
For example, postpartum depression is triggered after childbirth. It can be challenging to understand why a mother might feel depressed after birth to a child. However, one of the best pieces of advice you can get on how to help someone with postpartum depression is to show empathy. Empathy goes a long way in supporting someone with depression.4
One of the ways you can help your loved one with depression is by being patient with them. Recovery takes a long process, and continually supporting someone with depression might be draining to you. Bear in mind that there’s no quick fix for depression, and patience will be required to manage the situation.
Many people suffer from depression and/or anxiety. These conditions are usually co-occurring. Learning how to help someone with anxiety and depression does not end with patience and empathy. You should also encourage the person to seek professional help for a full recovery. Celebrating little wins and every smile to show support to your loved one with depression during treatment. 5
We just talked about the do’s of how to support someone with depression. Now, let’s talk about some things you should not do. They include:
Your friend may reject your efforts in trying to help them. Although this can be frustrating, do not give up. Keep trying. This sends a message that you’re down with them.
One of the things you learn on how to help someone with depression is to be empathetic. An empathetic person does not judge or criticize. Being judgmental can worsen the depression condition.
Depression is a chronic illness. You cannot fix the problem. Get professional help and support for depression to prevent the condition from getting worse and for recovery. All you have learned on how to support someone with depression is to help you better manage the situation rather than fix the problem.
When talking to someone with depression, you must avoid telling them to harden up or snap out of it. Knowing how to help someone with depression starts with understanding the condition. You should know your friend is not in the condition by choice. So, avoid forcing recovery.
People who are depressed already feel alone, therefore avoiding them will only make things worse.
Understanding the suicide risk associated with depression will help you understand just how important it is to learn how to help someone with depression and why you must be patient. Suicide is most associated with depression.6 Depressed individuals may be overcome by intense emotions and believe that death is the only way to end their suffering, failing to realize that suicide is a long-term “fix” for a transient problem.
Although suicide is generally difficult to foresee, there are warning signs to look out for. These include:
Taking a person’s expression of suicidal thoughts or any indications of potential suicidality seriously is important. The following are what you can do if you notice any suicidal signs:
If your friend refuses to reach out, you should reach out on their behalf, even at the risk of their being mad at you.
You don’t have to struggle with depression, that feeling of despondency that keeps you away from the things and people you love.
At Iris Healing, you can trust our dedicated team to deliver exceptional treatment and care to help you feel better. To find out how we can help you or your loved one to overcome depression and return to a positive way of life, reach out to us today.