7 Ways to Help a Loved One with Depression

Posted by Rayanne on June 9th, 2021

Watching someone you love struggle with depression can be really hard for anyone. It's never easy wanting to help but not knowing how and not know what to say to someone with depression. Depression is a complicated mental illness that not only affects the person who has it, but also the people around and that love that person. However, there are many ways you can help! If you start noticing your loved one staying in bed longer, withdrawing from conversations or dates, or showing other symptoms, try these seven ideas to help your loved one.

1. Research

Likely, you are already beginning your research and that's wonderful. Although Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability for people between the ages of 15 to 44; it still seems like there is a stigma and uncomfortable feeling around depression. The first step to helping your loved one is doing some research on the illness. Try to know the symptoms, understand what it is, and learn how to help.

2. Listen

Maybe the best thing you can do at that time is listening. Depression can make you feel unheard and misunderstood. Listening and reassurance can do a lot for someone struggling. You could begin by saying something like "Do you want to talk about it? I'm ready to listen." Reassurance can sound like "I'm here for you," "you're important to me," or even "is there anything I can do to help?" You'll also need to be understanding that sometimes they just need some time before they want to talk.

3. Help Find Resources

Oftentimes, someone with depression needs therapy or other resources. It can be hard for them to make these calls, though. Depression is often accompanied by anxiety, which would make these phone calls so much harder than it would be for someone without these illnesses. Have a conversation with your loved ones about how they would benefit through these resources and offer to help make an appointment. Being a helping hand through a rough time can make a huge difference to someone struggling with depression.

4. Get Out and Do Something

It's true, depression can really make you want to be alone. However, try to get your loved one get and around people. This really helps with depression along with therapy and sometimes medication. Even a five-minute walk could make a huge difference. Don't get discouraged if they just want to be alone, though. This is a symptom, but your efforts won't go unnoticed.

5. Help Around the House

Depression sometimes looks like piles of clothes, dirty dishes, and trash that need to be thrown away. A huge struggle for people with depression is the clean-up after their episodes. So another way to help is to clean around the house. It can be good to encourage them to clean with you because you don't want to encourage inactivity. However, this can help them get back up and feel better. It also just shows how much you care!

6. Praise

When it comes to depression, praise is so important. If you see your loved one taking a shower every other day when it was once a week before, tell them how proud you are of them. If they've been going on jogs, keeping up with laundry, or even brushing their hair. It's really the little things when it comes to depression because it can seem like the most work. Make sure they know you are proud and you love them, and it will make all the difference!

7. Check In

Consistency is key because sometimes depression can make your loved one feel like a burden. Make sure they know you are checking in and thinking about them because you care about them. It can take weeks, months, and sometimes even years of therapy before there's a lot of progress. Keep checking in and letting them know you're just a phone call away. This is probably one of the most important steps of offering support.

These are just seven ways to help, but there are many more. It can get hard, and sometimes it may even seem like there hasn't been any progress. Keep on helping however possible, offering support, and showing them you love and care for them. This will make all the difference to your loved one with depression!

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Joined: February 10th, 2021
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