How to help someone with depression – There are many ways you can help someone who is suffering from depression. This article offers some advice and tips on helping a friend or loved one overcome their depression.
Helping someone with depression can take many forms depending both the type of depression that they are experiencing and their particular needs. Here are some ideas that fit different scenarios. Use your understanding of the person you know who is depressed to figure out which of these might be most welcome to him or her.
- If You Believe the Person Is in Danger, Call For Help—People who are depressed can become suicidal. Sometimes it’s just talk, and sometimes it’s not. If you fear that someone is considering taking his or her own life, call 911 or an emergency suicide hotline.
- Encourage Treatment—Sometimes a person who is depressed may not recognize the fact. They may think that they are realistic about the world and that’s why they’re sad and withdrawn or “this is just how it is.” Because treatment can potentially make a dramatic change, it’s really something the person should try, but a lot of encouragement may be needed to get there.
- Transportation—Someone who is depressed may neglect visiting the barber or hairdresser or shopping for clothes or food because the process is too overwhelming. Then, they may feel guilty for not having done these things. By providing transportation and company, you may provide the boost that makes these tasks possible. You could also offer rides to doctors’ appointments, support group meetings, or counseling sessions.
- Household Help—Whether the person you know is suffering from postpartum depression or major depression, cleaning the bathroom and washing the dishes is probably not high on their to-do list. Whether you vaccuum or do the laundry, being in a neater, more orderly place can boost people’s moods.
- Cooking—Dropping off a ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat meal is often welcome. Remember to check for food allergies and any strong “dislikes” before you get going.
- Listening—Sometimes an ear is a great gift. When you listen to someone who is depressed, you may hear a lot of “down” material and you may hear it repeatedly, so prepare yourself to be understanding and not critical. This is especially important if treatment does not go well for some reason, and for some people, the therapy and medication that helps others doesn’t have the effects they would wish, and depression can go on and on. If you can hang in there with the person who’s not getting better as expected, that could be critical to his or her long-term well-being.
- Make a Date—Help doesn’t have to be all chores: with the person’s knowledge, plan a trip to the ballpark, a night on the town, a meal at a favorite restaurant or pub (skip the alcohol—it’s a depressant all on its own), a theater performance, a stroll through the botanical gardens or the zoo, or just a walk in the park. Having something to look forward to can be helpful.