How to Help Someone With Depression
Understanding how to help someone with depression could save their life. Depression is a mental illness that leaves a person feeling down on a regular basis. It lasts longer than a few days of feeling bummed. Do not invalidate the person’s feelings by telling them to “just get over it.” If it were that simple, they definitely would not choose to feel that way. Depression is a serious disease that often results in irrational thoughts.
- Learn about the disease. It is hard to help someone if you do not understand what is wrong and why they do the things they do. Read up on the causes, treatments and obstacles of trying to help someone with depression.
- Let the person know you are there for them. It can be a big comfort for them to know they have someone to turn to in crisis, or even when they just need to talk.
- Encourage the person to seek treatment, if they have not done so. Proper treatment can cure or significantly reduce the feelings of depression. Treatment should include medication and therapy. Some people opt for one over the other. A doctor can recommend what is right for the person’s individual condition.
- Watch for any warning signs of suicidal ideation. Depression is characterized by sadness and hopelessness, which can lead to thoughts of suicide if they are severe enough. You may have to contact help for the person if they are at risk of hurting themselves, which could mean calling 911 or a crisis intervention center.
- Take care of yourself. Being around someone who is depressed can be stressful. Do not let yourself be brought down by it. Balance yourself and stay social and active. Consider joining a support group for friends and families of depressed individuals.