Sunday, October 07, 2012

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.
3)  Supporting 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 alternative support.
4) Help 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 paying bills.
5)  Supporting 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.
6) Recognizing 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