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


Yan Katsnelson said...

It is my honor and privileged to found and read your post. It made me learn a lot of different ideas. Keep up the good work.

Yan Katsnelson

Purple Pineapple said...

I SO wish my family could read this!!! Maybe then they'd have a bit more sensitivity with their (negative) comments/opinions on depression and mental health.

Barbara Kivowitz said...

Thanks for this post. I have a friend who suffers from chronic depression and lives in another city. Sometimes she doesn't even want to talk on the phone. Any advice for how to support her at a distance? Thanks!

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Yan,

Dear PP,
I know what you mean! Words hurt, and ignorance makes it all the more painful.

Dear Barbara,
Yes. Send her an ecard, or a paper card, a text or a voice mail just letting her know that you are thinking of her. I know when I'm depressed, I hunker down and like to be left alone....but words of encouragement, support and love always help me find my way back. PS: Your friend is lucky to have you in her life xo

psychotherapy techniques said...

all of us have hope, just don't lose hope specially if you feel that your are really left behind..try to overcome your depression by praying, that you can overcome all the problems that you have and forget the past and learn from it. start a new life its not the end, its a new beginning of your new life