Supporting someone who has depression can be a thankless task as constant feelings of worthlessness and inability to think straight make it difficult to accept help.
This doesn’t mean you should sit back and do nothing. Develop a thick skin and a plan to combat the symptoms if not the disease.
Loneliness – people suffering depression often shut themselves away from everyone but this can be counter-productive as loneliness is often a cause of depression. Take the time to pop in and say hello, and sit and enjoy a cuppa. Talk about happy times and positive topics.
Be aware of stressful times – starting a new job, moving house, missing a loved one can all be triggers for someone who suffers from depression. Lend a hand and be there to chat when you can.
Be mindful of anniversaries – when someone has died, the anniversary of that loss, their birthday or special occasion can bring back feelings of loss and grief.
Try to keep a structure – a coping method for those with depression is having a structured routine, holidays can interfere with this routine and they may miss visits to their health professional. This often means they will need to rely more on family and friends for support, and this can also be more stressful for all involved.
Keep and eye on their behaviour – if you know someone suffers from depression watch out for changes in behaviour and point such changes out. Suggest that it may be time for a visit to their GP and help them get and keep the appointment.
There are a few tips to help someone who is suffering from depression:
• spend time talking about their experiences
• let them know you’ve noticed a change in their behaviour
• listen to them without being judgemental
• go with them to see their GP or health professional
• ask them how their appointment went
• talk about depression and get them to open up about how they are feeling
• encourage them to look after their health by exercising and eating well
Who can help?
There are many organisations which can provide information and support for those suffering from depression, but often it’s the case of finding the right person to open up to. These support services can put you in touch with the right people.