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How to Help Someone with Depression

Learn how to help someone with depression, the importance of mental health advocacy, and treatment opportunities here.

Help Someone with Depression

Article Contents

Understanding Depression

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

Causes of Depression 

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: 

  • Abuse 
  • Conflict 
  • Death or loss 
  • Certain medications like corticosteroids 
  • Genetics 
  • Serious illness 
  • Substance misuse 
  • Family problems

Effects of Depression

Although depression is a mental illness, it also affects a person’s physical health and wellbeing. Some of the effects of depression include: 

  • Weight loss 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia 
  • Lethargy and feeling fatigued 
  • Gastrointestinal problems like nausea, diarrhea, and constipation 
  • Risk of heart attack 
  • Increased pain sensitivity 

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

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: 

  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness 
  • Loss of interest or pleasure 
  • Slow speech and movements 
  • Aches and pains 
  • Eating more or less than usual 

How to Help Someone with Depression

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. 

Assertive Communication

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. 

Suggest Seeking Help 

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. 

Show Empathy 

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.

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

Be Patient 

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. 

Encourage Treatment 

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

What You Should Avoid While Helping

Help Someone with Depression

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: 

Do Not Give Up

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.

Do Not Judge or Criticize 

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.

Do Not Think You Can Fix It 

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. 

Do Not Tell Them to Harden Up 

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. 

Do Not Avoid the Depressed Ones 

People who are depressed already feel alone, therefore avoiding them will only make things worse. 

Understanding the Suicide Risk

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.

Warning Signs

Although suicide is generally difficult to foresee, there are warning signs to look out for. These include:

  • Talking about suicide or self-harm 
  • Getting the means to attempt suicide 
  • Self-hate 
  • Feeling trapped or hopeless
  • Severe anxious or agitated 

What To Do

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: 

  • Offer assistance 
  • Locate helpful organizations 
  • Call a suicide hotline: Encourage your friend to reach out by texting HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. Alternatively, reach the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255.

If your friend refuses to reach out, you should reach out on their behalf, even at the risk of their being mad at you.

How Iris Healing® Can Help Your Loved One Get Out of Depression

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.

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