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Ways to Support Someone With Depression

Nancy MacGregor MA, ATR-BC, LPC, ACS, Clinical Director

According to the most recent information from Our World in Data, which was collected in 2017, depression affects 264 million people around the globe. Depression causes a tremendous amount of pain for the sufferer as well as his or her loved ones. Many times, while in the throes of depression, the sufferer finds it difficult to see past the present. This difficulty results from the disorder making it seem as if the individual’s hopes and dreams are completely unreachable. The good news is that depression therapy and medication are making a difference in the lives of people suffering with this disorder, as well as those who love them.

5 Ways to Support Someone with Depression

Although it is never easy to deal with the symptoms associated with a friend or family member’s depression, there are things that you can do to help.

1. Realize that You Cannot Fix Your Loved One’s Depression, However, You Can Offer Support.

Although you probably want to, you cannot rescue your loved one from depression. The only way an individual who is depressed can improve is through active participation in depression therapy and, when prescribed, taking his or her medication.

You can offer support by helping your loved one as he or she copes with the symptoms of depression. The first step is learning all you can about the disorder and following recommendations provided by reputable mental health professionals.

2. Recognize and Accept Your Feelings.

The loved ones of someone suffering with depression typically experience a variety of difficult emotions themselves. These emotions can include fear, anger, guilt, frustration, sadness and an overall feeling of helplessness. The first step you need to take is acknowledging how you feel and realizing that under the circumstances these feelings are normal. Some people find it helpful to speak about their feelings with a close friend or join a support group. The most important thing is for you to vent your frustrations in a healthy manner, which keeps them from building up inside.

3. Watch for the Signs and Symptoms of Depression.

Frequently, it is the friends and family of an individual who make up the first line of defense against depression, which is why knowing what to look for is vital. By knowing the signs and symptoms, you may recognize that there is a problem before the sufferer does. At which point your concern and influence may motivate the individual to seek assistance through depression therapy.

The signs of depression include your loved one:

  • Having a negative or bleak outlook on his or her life.
  • Expressing a feeling of hopelessness.
  • Losing interest in things that he or she usually finds pleasurable (e.g., hobbies, work, sex).
  • Withdrawing from family and friends (e.g., will not answer the phone or return messages).
  • Avoiding social gatherings.
  • Expressing a feeling of helplessness.
  • Displaying signs of irritability, sadness, moodiness or being short-tempered.
  • Eating more than usual.
  • Frequently complaining of physical symptoms such as headaches, back pain and stomach issues.
  • Has odd sleep patterns (i.e., more than usual or less than usual).
  • Having difficulty making decisions, is disorganized, forgetful and seems as if he or she is in a daze.
  • Consistently feeling drained and tired.
  • Gaining or losing weight.
  • Self-medicating with alcohol, recreational drugs (e.g., marijuana, cocaine, heroin) or prescription medications (e.g., Xanax, Hydrocodone, Ritalin).

4. Learn the Best Way to Talk to Someone Who is Depressed.

Knowing what to say when someone is experiencing the signs of depression can be a challenge, especially for someone who is not well versed on the disorder. Many people worry about making their loved one feel insulted or angry. In addition, the individual may fear that the loved one will ignore his or her concerns altogether. Let your loved one know that you are available if he or she would like to talk and that you will listen to how he or she feels, without passing judgement. Although a single conversation cannot solve the depression symptoms someone is feeling, it can be a starting point on the road to depression therapy.

Sometimes, an individual suffering with depression needs to hear that you are there for them repeatedly. So, be gentle, but remain persistent.

The hardest part is always getting the conversation started. Here are a few tips to help you get things moving along.

Consider starting with:

  • I wanted to see how you were doing because I noticed that you have seemed down lately.
  • I have been really concerned about you lately.

Once you begin conversing with your loved one, you can ask the questions below:

  • How long have you felt this way?
  • Was there something that caused you to feel like this?
  • What can I do to help you right now?
  • Have you considered looking into treatment?

Avoid making comments like:

  • It is all in your head.
  • You should be better by now.
  • Everyone has hard times.
  • Try looking on the bright side.
  • You just need to snap out of it.
  • I cannot do anything to fix this.
  • Why would you want to die when you have so many things to live for?

5. Provide Your Loved One with Hope and Encouragement.

If he or she thinks that depression therapy is a good option, you can help your loved one locate a provider by using the search term — depression therapy near me. By offering to help, you can get things moving along right away. Leaving it up to your loved one to find depression therapy while he or she is in a depressive state can be detrimental because the disorder itself can make completing this task difficult.

Once you find a provider, you can give the information to your loved one. He or she will have to make the appointment, but you can be right there offering encouragement.

Depression Help Near South Jersey

If you are in the South New Jersey area, instead of searching for — depression therapy near me — consider contacting Harmony Bay Wellness at 855-765-6399 or click here to request an appointment with an experienced depression counselor. If you are interested in filling out the Depression Self-Assessment Questionnaire, please click here.

Treatment with Harmony Bay

Harmony Bay is an outpatient behavioral health service that offers primary mental health treatment for a variety of mental health disorders. Our mission is to make mental health care convenient and affordable while providing an unmatched experience to our clients. contact us today by calling 855.765.6399.