Anyone may suffer from depression. However, it is still an illness that many people do not understand. Individuals talk about mental illness much more than they used to. Even so, a stigma is still attached to mental health, discouraging many people from being open about depression.
If a friend or member of your family suffers from depression, it may be complicated to know what you can do to help. Here are some ways to support a family member or friend suffering from depression.
The first thing you ought to do if you want to help someone suffering from depression is to learn more about the condition. Unless you have suffered from depression, it may be complicated to empathize with someone who does.
There are many great resources online that you can check out. So, do a little research to be better equipped to offer help and support to your relative or friend.
BE SERIOUS ABOUT THE SITUATION
Depression is not something someone can snap out of it. For example, you cannot fix the problem with a good night out. Do not try to downplay the condition when talking to someone suffering from depression.
Depression is a severe condition. Therefore, unfortunately, you won’t be able to support people suffering from depression by telling them to cheer up or pull themselves together and get over it.
BE A GOOD LISTENER
When people suffer from depression, they often feel isolated. They may feel they don’t have someone to communicate with about their problems. Be there for your family members and let them talk. Try encouraging them to speak; your support is the most important thing you have to offer.
ENCOURAGE YOUR RELATIVES TO SEEK HELP
If an individual suffers from depression, it is vital to seek professional counseling. Individuals suffering from severe depression may also need medication to alleviate their condition.
Encourage your relative to talk to a doctor. Try to make your relative understand that depression is a treatable condition. It is not something your family member has to struggle with alone.
GIVE PRACTICAL SUPPORT
Depressed people sometimes neglect everyday tasks. For example, sometimes they don’t have enough food in their home, they don’t do household chores, and they have difficulty opening their mail or paying their bills.
You cannot cure your relative’s depression, but you can offer practical support. For example, if they don’t cook, you can do it for them; doing little things for them can comfort someone suffering from depression.
KEEP THEM INFORMED
Individuals suffering from depression are prone to disconnect from their social circle. Generally, they don’t want to socialize at all. However, keep them informed. Invite them to events, but don’t push them to attend. Instead, ensure them they are always welcome to participate.
DON’T PRETEND TO BE AN EXPERT
A predominant feeling that depressed individuals have is that no one understands them. Therefore, don’t try to tell them how to cure the condition. A healthy diet and exercise may help some individuals with depression. But medication may work for some and not for others.
Leave the condition treatment to professionals. The best support you can give your family member is to be there.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE CONDITION
When family members tell you how they are feeling, take them seriously. Depression is not the same as experiencing a bad day or feeling sad. It is a debilitating condition that may affect all aspects of a person’s life. If you have never suffered depression, you don’t know how it feels. Therefore, it is much better to admit that you don’t understand what they are experiencing.
BE READY TO HANDLE AN EMERGENCY
If you consider there is a danger that people you love may harm themselves or attempt suicide, you must act and call emergency services. It may be a difficult decision when they insist on not wanting help. They may hate you in the short term for intervening. However, they will thank you for your prompt intervention when they feel better.
It may be frustrating to deal with people who suffer from depression. There may be times when they would rather walk away and get with their life. Don’t lose patience. Please don’t abandon your people when they need your support the most. Anyone can suffer from depression; the next person needing encouragement with depression could be you.
It is complex to deal with depression; for the sufferers and family and friends. The best support for the sufferers is to be there for them. Please encourage them to get help and provide it when needed. Mental health professionals and services are available to help manage the symptoms.
You are not alone. At Neurocare Centers of America, your health and well-being are essential to our success. Contact us. We are here for you.