Last Updated on November 12, 2023 by Otuebo Harrison
Millions of individuals throughout the world suffer from the dangerous mental health disorder known as depression. It can significantly affect a person’s life and leave them feeling depressed, hopeless, and unworthy.
Although professional treatment is required to manage depression, loved ones’ support can be extremely helpful in the healing process. But a lot of individuals find it difficult to know how to help a loved one who is depressed. They might feel overburdened, helpless, or even concerned that they might make matters worse. Lack of support may result from this, which may increase the person’s symptoms and make recovery more challenging.
It’s critical to educate yourself about depression and how you may be a support system if you’re in a position where you’re caring for a loved one who suffers from it. You can make a significant contribution to your loved one’s rehabilitation process by providing emotional support, helping with everyday activities, and encouraging them to seek professional help.
This article will provide you a thorough overview of how to support a loved one who is depressed, along with helpful advice, real-world examples, and self-care techniques to keep your own mental health in check.
Symptoms of Depression
It can be challenging for some people to identify depression because it can show up in a variety of ways. But you should be aware of some frequent indications that someone is depressed. These includes:
- Depressing, gloomy, and unworthy emotions
- Loss of enthusiasm for tasks that the person once enjoyed
- Changes to appetite and weight
- Oversleeping or difficulty falling asleep
- Weakness and exhaustion
- Inability to focus or make decisions
- Suicidal or self-destructive thoughts
It’s crucial to approach your loved one with compassion and understanding if you observe any of these symptoms in them.
Various factors, such as heredity, brain chemistry, and life events, might contribute to depression. A family history of the condition, traumatic experiences, chronic illnesses, and substance addiction are all risk factors for depression. It’s crucial to realize that depression is a medical condition, and those who are experiencing its symptoms require expert assistance to manage their symptoms.
Ways to Support a Loved One with Depression
You may support your loved one in a number of ways if they’re dealing with depression.
Encourage Them to Seek Professional Help: Depression is a serious condition that needs medical attention. Encourage your loved one to consult a therapist or psychiatrist for mental health treatment.
Scenario: For weeks, John has been depressed and despondent. He finds it difficult to get out of bed in the morning and has lost interest in the activities he formerly found enjoyable. Mary, his wife, advises him to see a therapist for assistance. John initially hesitates but ultimately decides to go to counseling. John is able to control his symptoms and advance in his rehabilitation thanks to Mary’s help.
Listen and Be Supportive: Sometimes, simply listening to your loved one and providing emotional support is the finest thing you can do for them. Tell them you care about their wellbeing and that you are there for them.
Scenario: Sarah has been battling depression and believes nobody can relate to her. Lisa, her closest friend, supports her feelings while listening to her without passing judgment. Sarah starts to open up to Lisa more after feeling heard and supported by this.
Be Patient and Understanding: Recovery from depression might take time because it can be a chronic condition. Be kind to your loved one and be aware that they might not be able to perform their daily tasks as well as they usually could.
Scenario: Following a diagnosis of depression, Jake has begun taking medicine to treat his symptoms. He still has trouble with daily duties, though, and needs to stop frequently during the day. His manager is understanding of his condition and gives him the option of flexible hours. Jake is able to control his symptoms and feel more supported at work because of this.
Help Them With Daily Tasks: People with depression may find it challenging to carry out regular duties like cleaning, cooking, and running errands. If you can, offer to assist your loved one with these tasks.
Scenario: Due to her sadness, Emily has been finding it challenging to complete her household duties.Rachel, her sister, offers to assist her with laundry and housecleaning. This relieves some of Emily’s stress and enables her to concentrate on her rehabilitation.
Practice Self-Care and Seek Support: When providing mental health support to someone who is depressed, it’s critical to look after your own wellbeing. Exercise, meditate, or spend time with friends as examples of self-care activities. If you require assistance, look for a therapist or support group.
Scenario: In order to help his depressed wife Rachel, Mark is offering support. He discovers that it’s having a negative impact on his own mental health, though. He begins seeing a therapist and begins practicing yoga to reduce his tension. This enables him to better support Rachel while also looking after his own well-being.
In conclusion, it takes tolerance, kindness, and understanding to help a loved one who is depressed. To safeguard your own mental health, it’s critical to be aware of the symptoms of depression, urge your loved one to seek professional help, provide emotional support, help with daily duties, and engage in self-care activities. Your loved one can control their symptoms and live a full life with your assistance.
Everyone should prioritize their own well-being and practice mindfulness, not just those who are caring for a loved one who is depressed. Keep in mind that looking after your own mental health is just as crucial as looking after someone else’s. You may improve your own mental health and be a better support system for your loved one by engaging in self-care practices like physical activity, meditation, or socializing.