Speaking to a loved one about depression can be intimidating; sometimes, we don’t know the right words to say and things to do to help them feel better and fear to make things worse instead.
The most important thing when it comes to supporting someone with depression is to be a compassionate and empathetic listener. Often, we feel that we need to give advice, but being supportive, encouraging and willing to listen without judgment can help them cope with their symptoms, make them feel at ease and bring about some positivity into their lives.
Depression affects the lives of millions of people worldwide across a span of ages; it is a serious mental disorder that disrupts daily life and can make doing the smallest task unbearable, but it is treatable. It causes a huge amount of pain, not only for the person suffering but for their loved ones, too. One of the best things you can do is to learn about depression and understand that it is not something that can be “fixed” by you or snapped out of.
How To Talk To Someone Who’s Depressed
Asking the right questions and being a good listener is key to helping someone who is depressed.
Questions to ask:
“Did something happen to make you feel this way?”
“How can I best love and support you right now?”
“Have you considered getting help?”
What to say to help:
“I am here for you. You don’t have to go through this alone”
“I may not understand what you are going through, but I care about you and want to help.”
“You are important to me. We need you here.”
What you should avoid saying:
“It’s all in your head.”
“Snap out of it.”
“Shouldn’t you be better now?”
Remember that people who are depressed often isolate themselves, withdraw from people and need encouragement to talk. Express your concerns and be persistent with them, but gentle.
How To Help Someone Who’s Depressed
You can support a depressed people by helping them keep their scheduled appointments, assist in decluttering their space, encourage activity like exercise, ask them to join you on movie and restaurant outings and lead by example by living an active, healthy and relationship-focused life.
However, encouraging the depressed person to seek help is one of the most helpful things you can do. While they may think of it as pointless and fruitless, it is of vital importance for them to talk to a professional about what they are going through and find suitable ways to cope and heal. To make it less daunting for the depressed person, you can help them research treatment providers and look into options, such as the convenient therapy options BetterHelp.com provides.
Remember To Take Care Of Yourself, Too
It is important that while you are supporting someone who is depressed that you maintain and prioritize your own emotional well-being, too. It’s not easy to support someone with depression, and it can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed and frustrated. By taking care of yourself, you can lend ongoing support and energy to your depressed family member or friend. The most important things to remember is to communicate openly and honestly about your needs and feelings, set boundaries to avoid burnout and resentment, maintain your own appointments and social life and make sure you have someone you can turn to and talk to when you feel down.
Supporting a loved one with depression can be challenging, but it is worth it to know that they are not alone as they walk through their lowest valleys. By learning about depression, listening compassionately and encouraging them to seek help while supporting them through treatment, you can help them regain hope again.
Author: Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.