Helping a Loved One Live With Depression
Worldwide, more than 264 million people suffer from depression, with support and treatments varying wildly from country to country. Thankfully, we no longer live in a society in which it is an unspoken condition; mental health awareness has come on in leaps and bounds over the past few years. However, that doesn’t mean that people suffering with depression find it easy to talk about, and it can be difficult knowing how best to support a loved one who is suffering.
Signs of depression vary from person to person, so it isn’t always easy to know when a friend or family member needs support. They may seem tearful, unusually pessimistic, appear to have less energy, altered sleeping patterns, they may seem forgetful or have trouble concentrating, speak of feeling guilty or worthless, or talk about death or suicide. It can be devastating to learn that someone you love is suffering from depression, and here are some ways in which you can support them.
Let them know that you can see they are struggling, and that you are there to listen and help if they need you. Opening lines of communication can help with the sense of loneliness often experienced by people with depression.
Speak to your friend or family member about support they can access, such as counselling. It may feel less daunting for them if you help them find and make an appointment with a therapist, as taking that first step can be huge.
Everyday tasks such as cleaning and washing can be incredibly daunting for someone with depression. It may be a huge help if you are able to pop by every so often, or arrange for someone to do so, to help your loved one keep on top of tasks that may be overwhelming them.
And finally, supporting someone with depression isn’t easy; it is tempting to try to be constantly available for them, but you do need to look after yourself too. It may help to find numbers for crisis support, and to suggest implementing a wider support network, giving your friend more means of accessing support and taking a little weight away from yourself.