Depression can leave individuals feeling hopeless, empty, irritable, and without any interest in activities that they once loved. But depression doesn’t affect individuals in isolation; it reaches its grip to close friends and family, the people who experience the other end of those irritable outbursts or who once shared a similar interest in activities.
Thankfully, if someone close to you is showing symptoms of depression, you can learn how to help someone with depression.
Can I Help Someone with Depression?
Yes! There are things you can do to help your friends or family.
Just Be There
If you are trying to figure out how to help someone with depression, one of the most important things to understand is that your support or companionship might be a crucial element to their recovery. You can help those close to you cope with their negative thoughts, regain their energy, and start to move back toward normalcy.
It’s not up to you to fix their symptoms or provide them with a free form of therapy. Sometimes you might have to direct them toward a professional resource like Centric Group, which can connect them to trained professionals. But in the meantime, the best thing you can do is to continue providing your ongoing support and understanding.
Figuring out how to help someone with depression might not include additional action other than listening. If you know someone who is showing signs of depression, make it clear that you are there to listen to them and learn how they are feeling.
They might not take you up on your offer to talk straight away, but when they do, be sure to actively listen to what they are saying without advice, opinions, or judgment. Sometimes people just need to know that they are heard and that there is no stigma in sharing their emotions.
Provide Small Help
You can also provide help in small ways. Firstly, ask that individual how you can help. There might be certain tasks that they just can’t find the energy to do right now, like doing the dishes, and you might be able to come over one afternoon and do those small tasks for them.
In other cases, individuals struggling with depression might need help maintaining a regular routine. So you can offer to make a schedule for them to keep things like household chores, physical activity, medicine, meals, and social support organized.
Small help might take the form of encouraging them to participate in activities with you, activities that are conducive to self-care.
- If religion is an important part of their life, you might ask them to accompany you to church. Wording it as a favor to you might make someone struggling with depression more inclined to accept.
- Similarly, you might encourage them to come with you on a hike or go to a yoga class because you don’t want to do it alone. Again, wording it as a favor to you might make someone more inclined to accept the offer.
How to Help Someone with Depression
Can I help someone with depression if I’m not qualified? Certainly, you can. But remember, the way in which you help someone with depression is different from how a qualified therapist would help.
You can do things like acknowledge the things you’ve seen and open a conversation with your loved ones about the differences you’ve noticed in their behavior.
- Regularly check in with your loved one
- Openly discuss depression
- Ask how you can best support them
- Remind your loved one that even if you don’t really understand how they feel, you care about them, and you are there to help them
These things can be the best help you can provide.
One of the best things you can do to help someone with depression is to learn how depression works. The more you understand, the more equipped you will be to provide the right kind of support. This might include:
- Participating in support groups
- Learning how depression works
- Educating yourself about depression treatments
- Improving your communication
- Gathering resources you can share instead of trying to “fix” your loved one
Don’t Take it Personally
If you have someone close to you who is showing signs of depression, it’s important that you recognize that any of the symptoms they might experience, such as irritability or a lack of interest in shared activities, is not a personal attack.
The sooner you can recognize that things said in anger or ambivalence about your achievements are not really about you at all, the sooner you can provide the shared support that your friend or family member needs in their time of hardship.
Centric Group can connect you to multiple mental health treatment centers in the area. By working with an organization like Centric Group, you can do research about different types of therapies available, inpatient versus outpatient programs, and then provide that information to your loved one.
Sometimes people with depression don’t know where to look, and their symptoms make it difficult to take action. Other times they might need a supporting hand to help guide them to the right resources because they are worried about stigma or judgment. Let Centric Group help you learn more about depression and how to get treatment.