Depression is a common but serious mental illness that comes with many negative emotional and physical symptoms. Depression can affect a person’s ability to enjoy life and function at work or school, and it can even be life-threatening if left untreated.
Just as depression saps enjoyment from life, watching someone you love experience depression can be painful. Thankfully, there are things friends and family members can do to help people with depression.
How to Support Someone With Depression
If you think someone you know might have depression, you can take action to support them in the moment and help them find paths to Recovery in the long-term. Here are a few ways you can begin to support someone with depression:
- Educate yourself: If you haven’t experienced it yourself, Clinical Depression can be difficult to wrap your head around. It’s a good idea to read up on the symptoms, available treatments and lived experiences of people with depression. Remember that depression is an illness outside your loved one’s control, not a character flaw or weakness. It’s also a good idea to identify the suicide hotline number in your area.
- Offer assistance: Depression can make seemingly simple tasks like cleaning the house or getting to appointments feel overwhelming. If you know someone you care about is dealing with depression, offer to help in concrete ways. Sometimes just inviting someone out of the house can make a huge difference.
- Start the conversation: If you’re worried about someone you know, starting the conversation about depression is an important step. Be gentle and approach the discussion with an open mind.
Things You Can Say to Help Someone With Depression
It can be difficult to know what to say to someone who is depressed. You may feel tempted to offer advice or tell your loved one to look on the bright side — but these impulses could actually make them feel worse if they think you’re blaming them or misunderstanding their experience.
With that said, talking to someone with depression about how they feel is one of the best things you can do to help. Here are a few things you can say to show a person with depression you care:
- I’m here for you. Depression can make a person feel hopeless and alone. Reminding them that you care and that you’re there for them if they need you can show someone with depression that they have people on their side.
- How are you doing today? Recovering from depression is a long process, and relapses are possible. Checking in regularly can help your friend or family member recognize when they need more help and when their progress deserves celebration.
- It’s OK to feel depressed. Feelings of guilt and self-hatred are common in people with depression. Assure your loved one that it’s OK to feel depressed and that it’s not their fault.
- Have you considered seeking treatment? Therapy and medication help many people with depression recover. Asking your friend whether they would be willing to seek professional help shows them that treatment is available and that you think it could benefit them. If you’re comfortable doing so, you can also offer to go with them to a first appointment.
How 7 Summit Pathways Can Help
Around 20 percent of Americans with mood disorders like depression also develop an addiction. It can be difficult to watch someone you love struggle with mental illness, but Recovery is always possible.
At 7 Summit Pathways, we offer evidence-based treatment and personalized support throughout the Recovery process. To learn more about how we can help with depression and addiction, or to schedule an appointment for yourself or a loved one, reach out to us today.