If you have a loved one struggling with depression, here are some key ways you can help support them:
1. Remember that Depression is Not a Moral Failure
Trying to help someone with chronic feelings of despondency is a compassionate thing to do. One thing you want to avoid is looking at depression as a moral failure. This can lead to using sentences like, “You just need to move past this.” Typically, these types of responses are not helpful, and they can lead to a person having deeper struggles with isolation, dejection, and low self-esteem.
2. Applaud Small Victories and Good Choices
If your friend takes her son to school on a day where you know she is struggling, be sure to applaud this small victory. If a teen facing depression meets with a counselor or works on his homework, praise these good actions as a form of encouragement.
3. Recognize and Appreciate Self-Governance
While you might be tempted to instruct a loved one facing depression on what to do next, remember that they may not want you telling them what to do. As you offer support, empower them by letting them know you respect their ability to choose what is best for them.
4. Take Time to Get Educated on Depression
Taking time to attend a support group with your friend or reading a book about the issue also shows the person you care about how much they mean to you, and this can be very uplifting to someone struggling.
5. Go on Exercise Outings with Your Friend
Mild or moderate cardio workouts, even something as simple as a nature walk, can reduce stress and lead to increased feelings of self-awareness and appreciation of the person’s surroundings.
6. Offer Your Loved One Community Resources
When people are trapped in a cycle of depression, they may not know what to do to find help. Printing a list of counseling resources, support groups, and educational materials can be a non-invasive way to show support and care.
7. Don’t Put a Time Limit on Recovery
Being patient is perhaps one of the most difficult things to do when supporting a loved one through depression. Keep in mind that patience and consistency in support will go a long way to providing true care.
8. Extend a Standing Offer for a Social Outing
An activity like going to the movies or out for coffee provides a sense of normalcy which can be both helpful and healing. Let your loved one know you have a standing offer for them to go out on a friend date whenever they are ready.
9. Become Familiar with Danger Indicator Signs
If depression worsens, it is important to know potential indicators of suicide. Make sure you know what the signs are and how to make a report on behalf of your loved one.
10. Recognize the Importance of Professional Treatment
Knowing that professional treatment and therapy is an option can be a lifeline for the person in your life dealing with depression. Make sure you know about local treatment facilities, such as MidValley Healthcare, and that you share this information and encouragement with your loved one. Click HERE to schedule an appointment.