How to Help a Loved One Struggling with Depression Get the Help They Need

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By Steve Johnson

Depression is a serious medical condition. It can be hard for people to seek help for their depression, but the support of loved ones can encourage a person to seek treatment. Whether it’s just sitting quietly with your loved one, holding hands, or just listening, often just being there is what a person suffering with depression needs. Below are some tips describing you how you can help your loved one as they’re struggling with depression.

Just Be There

Sometimes all an individual with depression needs is your presence, or to know that you will be there to support them. It might not seem like much to you, but knowing that you are there to emotionally support them, and taking the time to just listen to them, means more than you can imagine.

Depression is often misunderstood, and people often don’t know what to do with someone suffering from depression. People may not feel like they know how to talk to an individual with depression, afraid they’ll say the wrong thing. That’s why showing your support in a small way, like sitting and listening, will mean so much to the individual struggling with depression.

One reason it is so important to help out a loved one with depression is the terrible isolation a depressed individual often feels. Your loved one needs to feel included and know that someone is going to be there for them while they’re going through their struggles. There are so many small, but important, ways you can show you support your loved one. You can email, text, call, or even make them a special meal. These small things will help to assure them that you care for them and are there for them.

What Not to Do and What to Do

Try not to criticize or give unasked-for advice to your loved one struggling with depression. These actions may make the person keep their guard up. One of the worst things you can say to someone with depression is “snap out of it.” You don’t want to minimize what they’re going through. Remember, depression is as real as any physical ailment; a person can’t just “snap out of it.” Try to avoid taking it personally when or if your loved one lashes out at you; it’s most likely the depression talking.

To help your loved one struggling with depression get help, offer to help them find a doctor or therapist, or even drive them to their appointment. Depression makes people feel very low-energy, and they can feel overwhelmed over things you may think are small. Any assistance with seeking guidance will be an enormous help to your loved one, as long as they make it clear they want to seek help and are not feeling forced. Take the time to learn about depression. Remember that depression does not discriminate. People from all walks of life can struggle with depression, don’t assume only certain people may get a mental illness. Depression can also lead to addiction particularly in communities already facing extraordinary challenges, so the earlier you can help your loved one get help, the better. Please remember that if anyone you know talks about suicide, or shows any warning signs, immediately call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Don’t Forget About You

Do not forget to take care of yourself. You are no good to your loved one struggling with depression if you are having trouble emotionally. Mental and emotional health are just as important as physical health, and mental illness and emotional problems can both lead to physical problems if not treated. You must be concerned about your overall well-being. It is crucial to take care of yourself, so you can help your loved one seek help.

Steve Johnson has always been dedicated to promoting health and wellness in all aspects of life. Studying in the medical field has shown him how important it is for reputable health-related facts, figures, tips, and other guidance to be readily available to the public. He created PublicHealthLibrary.org with a fellow student to act as a resource for people’s overall health inquiries and as an accurate and extensive source of health information. When he isn’t hard at work in his studies, Steve enjoys playing tennis and listening to his vintage record collection.