Depression – Understanding Is The First Step to Overcoming It – Week 6

How to Help Others Who Are Depressed

If you have friends or a family member who are suffering from depression, there are ways that you can help them without feeling as if you are walking on eggshells. Depression is a horrible illness that can be fatal if left untreated, and it can ruin relationships. Hopefully, if you can understand that no one wants to be depressed and that they can’t just fix it on their own, you’ll find it easier to be supportive.

  • Listen – When someone who is depressed is venting to you, just listen. You don’t need to give advice or fix their problem. Let them talk; show them that you’re listening by paraphrasing back to them what they’ve said or by looking them in the eyes or kindly touching their hand or shoulder.
  • Show You Care – It’s okay to show emotion when someone is being emotional around you or is demonstrating dangerous symptoms of depression. Sometimes you may have to show you care by calling in a professional if your friend is suicidal. Be willing for them to hate you to get them the help they need.
  • Don’t Criticize – The worst thing you can do is criticize someone who is depressed. You can bet they already have low self-worth. This is not the time for tough love or that type of honesty. Just be there for them without judgment.
  • Don’t Give Ultimatums – It might be tempting, especially when it’s a spouse or a child, to threaten and give ultimatums. But doing so could make things worse. People who suffer from depression don’t make good decisions, so they’re not going to do what you want just because they’re going to lose you. In fact, they’re more likely to push you away.
  • Understand That Their Pain is Real – Depression sufferers are no different from anyone suffering from another disease such as diabetes or cancer. Their pain is real. Their feelings are real. They cannot just stop this from happening to them. If they could, they would.
  • Do Not Give Advice – You’re not an experienced therapist, so keep your advice to yourself about what to do about the depression. While some things might work well such as exercise, eating right, and so forth, instead of giving advice help them do that by inviting them to exercise with you.
  • Don’t Say That You Understand – Even if you’ve suffered from depression yourself, you don’t know how they feel so don’t say that you do. Don’t turn things around to be about you, because they’re not going to be ready to hear it until they’re in therapy.
  • Educate Yourself on Depression – Read books and watch documentaries about depression to help learn what you can, so that you’re aware of the danger signs and can get outside help for your friend or family member if necessary.

Finally, if you fear for your loved one’s life, ensure that you have the numbers to call at your fingertips to get them help from a professional if needed.

Where to Get Help for Depression

Getting help for depression can be difficult depending on where you live and what type of insurance you have. But, there are usually community organizations that can help you locate providers such as NAMI. You may have to find an organization like that if you live outside of the USA, but usually, they do exist.

Support Groups

You can also look at online support groups that have sprouted up due to the advent of Facebook groups and other social networks. The important thing to remember about online groups is that they may not be led by a professional; you should not take advice from people that you meet online when it comes to anything with side effects like medications, vitamins, and supplements.

There are also offline support groups that you can find, either with the help of a mental health organization, your doctor or by looking them up. These groups might have a therapist leading them and cost money, but there may be some free choices too.

Finally, especially if you have a loved one who has depression, keep the number for the national suicide hotline for your country nearby. The number for the USA is 1-800-273-8255. You can find the number of other countries on this list from the International Bipolar Foundation.

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