If someone you care about struggles with depression, especially if it's someone you live with, you know how difficult it can be. You might wonder what you can do to help. Here are a few things that might be helpful.
There are many online resources where you can learn about depression, its symptoms, and treatment options. Try to put yourself in their shoes and learn what depression feels like and get the facts about what depression really is.
Offer encouragement and emotional support.
Encourage them to find something that can help motivate them to continue to push through. This could be their faith in God, their love of their children, or anything else that makes them feel good. Find what works best for them and remind them of it frequently.
Give them a shoulder to cry on, or just listen supportively to what they are feeling. Be patient and let them know that you care. Share the things you've learned while researching depression. Let them know it's not their fault, that they're not weak or worthless.
Remain patient, passionate, and forgiving.
Depressed people are not lazy, they're really struggling and it is a health concern to be taken very seriously. Everyday activities like cleaning house, paying bills, or feeding the dog may seem simple for you, but overwhelming to them. Just like if they had the flu, they simply don't feel up to it.
Encourage them to seek help from a professional.
Taking the first step of working with a professional can be an intimidating one which is why so many people with depression don't receive treatment. In any depression situation, working with a talk therapist or psychiatrist may be the best way to tackle the problem. If you're friend or family member is already in treatment, be there to help support them and keep them on track!
Take care of yourself.
Feelings of depression are contagious and being an emotional caregiver to someone who is going through it can be taxing on your own emotions. These feelings are a valid response to a very trying situation. Join a support group, talk with a close friend, or see a counselor. The important thing is to vent your frustrations rather than allowing them to build up inside and hurt your relationship with the depressed person in your life.