Helping Someone You Know with Depression
Friends and family can be a lifeline
for someone with depression. You can be a critical factor in their recovery. Depending
on the severity of the depression, there are many things you can do to help.
1) Listen Compassionately: One of the most important is talking with and listening to
your loved one. Ask how they are feeling but don’t force them to talk if they
aren’t interested. Allowing these conversations to be easy and open can show
them that you are there to help. It is also good
to ask them what is most helpful for them when they are feeling depressed.
Listen to what they have to say. Tell them that you are there to listen when
they need to talk.
2) Understanding Depression: It is also important for you to understand depression, its
symptoms, possible course and treatments. This will help you understand your
loved one and how he or she is feeling. It will also help you know if your
loved one is getting better, needs more treatment or requires more assistance.
Their Treatment: One critical area of support for
someone with depression is working with them to maintain their treatment plan,
including taking their medications as prescribed, seeing healthcare
practitioners as recommended, and seeking additional support as necessary. You
may need to be the person to remind your loved one to take their medication every day. You may also help by
setting up and/or taking them to their healthcare appointments. If they are not
getting better, you may also need to encourage them to seek additional or
with Day-to-Day Living: Often,
people with depression have difficulty with some of the basics of day-today
living. If severe enough, depression can leave you feeling immobilized, unmotivated
and unable to do many of life’s simplest tasks. During these times, a person
with depression will need support in ordinary activities —you may need to
encourage them to shower, to eat, or to get some fresh air. And sometimes
people might need help going to the grocery store, cleaning the house and
Regular Activities: Try to encourage your loved one to
maintain the activities they do when they are not depressed. Be it work, school
or activities. Don’t force them to do things if they aren’t ready, but do try
to help them stay involved in their lives.
Warning Signs for Suicide: It is important to know that people with depression are more likely to attempt or
commit suicide. Take seriously any comments about suicide or wanting to die.
Even if you do not believe they really want to hurt themselves, the person is
clearly in distress. Reach out and call emergency services if necessary.
Depression: A Global Crisis by the World Federation for Mental Health