6 ways to look after someone with depression

Published: September 4, 2018
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PHOTO: MEDICAL NEWS TODAY

PHOTO: MEDICAL NEWS TODAY

If you know someone who suffers from depression, you might feel confused yourself. You might be treading carefully around them to make sure that you do nothing that may upset them. Or you could have resorted to a silent approach.

Depression is a serious disorder that can sabotage relationships which is why it’s more confusing to deal with someone who suffers from it. But one should realise that being supportive can always change things. Compiled from Psych Central, here are six ways you can lend a shoulder to someone who suffers from depression.

1. Be present

PHOTO: MASTERFILE

PHOTO: MASTERFILE

Deborah Serani – a psychologist who suffers from depression herself – stated that the best thing to do for someone with depression is just to be there. She said, “When I was struggling with depression, the most healing moments came when someone I loved sat with me while I cried, or wordlessly held my hand. Or when they said things like ‘We’re going to find a way to help you to feel better’.”

2. Small gestures count

PHOTO: ISTOCK

PHOTO: ISTOCK

There are still many ways to lend your support if you’re someone who’s uncomfortable with emotional expression. Serani recommends small gestures like sending cards, cooking a meal or leaving a voice note. “These gestures provide a loving connection and they’re also a beacon of light that helps guide your loved one when the darkness lifts,” she added.

3. Don’t judge

PHOTO: THE HUFFINGTON POST CANADA

PHOTO: THE HUFFINGTON POST CANADA

What you say to someone who suffers from depression can have a very powerful impact. Serani suggests avoiding statements such as ‘I think it’s all in your head’ as it can imply that the other person has a “choice to feel a certain way” or that they’re “choosing” to be depressing. It’s not only insensitive but can distance the loved one even more.

4. Skip the tough-love approach

PHOTO: MAESTRO VIEJO

PHOTO: MAESTRO VIEJO

Many people think that being tough to a loved one will somehow undo depression or promote positive behavioural changes. Being intentionally impatient, pushing boundaries or comments like ‘You better snap out of it’ can only prove to be harmful. Serani shared that it’s like not helping someone who has cancer.

5. Avoid comparisons

PHOTO: WIKIHOW

PHOTO: WIKIHOW

Serani explained that unless you’ve suffered from depression yourself, it’s never wise to say to someone that you know how it feels. While the intention would be to help the other person, it usually does not help.

6. Learn about depression

PHOTO: MY HEALTH ALBERTA

PHOTO: MY HEALTH ALBERTA

Educating yourself about depression can be a big turning point in helping someone who suffers from it. Once you understand the symptoms and the consequences, it will be easy for you to identify and support your loved one. Serani quoted, “Someone who’s feeling hopeless might still laugh at a joke but the truth is that depressive symptoms are lingering elsewhere. It’s important to know that depression has a far and often imperceptible range.”

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Reader Comments (2)

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Sep 4, 2018 - 4:56PM

    valid points. just listening quietly / non judgmentally makes a load of a difference . Recommend

  • Dr.wasif
    Sep 5, 2018 - 6:09AM

    Depression is a thought that we need to change. Nowadays,with a competitive environment and changing trends in religion and society we are seeing the most cases of depression especially in young girls ( 14-20 yrs). Due to lack of proper education,non motivational environment lack of emotional intelligence in teachers dealing with lower and middle class group of our society. Our young generation is fantasizing about relationship,love,and peace watching in movies and dramas instead of being taught the true parameters to live in harmony which leads them to depression when they see a contrast in original life.
    You can heal a depression regarding to a personal distress e.g lost someone,got robbed.But,fictional world is destroying half of our generation that is leading to frustration and depression.I will suggest every parent to change the way you behave learn the child first where is he/she is going and to make institute to teach our younger generation as they are the asset of our future.Recommend

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