How can I help someone with depression? Is this something you are asking yourself as you watch a friend or loved one suffering with depression? Below are some ways you can help and support them.

If someone you know and love is depressed, you want to help that person. But despite wanting to support them, you may feel out of your depth and be unsure about what to do for them.

10 Tips, Ways You Can Help Someone Who is Depressed

 

  1. Let the person know you care and are ready to listen to their problems and how they’re feeling. Being able to talk about their concerns and express feelings can help a depressed person. It can make him/her feel less alone and isolated. Let them know that you care and are there to support them. By just being there while they cry, holding their hand without the need to say anything, or asking how you can help can make a huge difference.

 

  1. Actively listen. Listen carefully for signs of hopelessness and despair. People who are very depressed are at high risk of committing suicide. If you are really concerned for the person’s safety, call a doctor or hospital, or take them to the ER.

 

  1. Accept them without judging. Your reactions and what you say can have a powerful impact on the person. Depressed individuals cannot just ‘snap out of it,’ or ‘cheer up.’ It’s not as simple as that, and being tough on them with not help. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of depression and the impact it can have on the person’s life. Avoid minimizing their mental pain and anguish.

 

  1. Regularly call or visit the person, message, or text them. People with depression often become isolated. You may need to work hard to engage someone who’s depressed.

 

  1. Invite them to join you in daily activities like meeting for coffee or going for a walk. He/she may not feel interested right away or may find it difficult to leave their home. Be encouraging, gentle and persistent, not domineering and bossy. Pleasurable activities can help in improving depression. Once the person begins the activity, they will realize the benefit and may be happy to do it again.  Exercise such as walking, the gym or another sporting activity the person enjoys will enhance their physical and mental health.

 

  1. Prepare a meal together to ensure the person is eating a healthy diet.

 

  1. Praise small, daily tasks the person has accomplished. It could for simple things like getting up and dressed or going out to the shops or for a walk.

 

  1. Encourage the person to see their doctor or a psychologist. Find out about the support services in your community and use online resources. Tell the person that depression is a medical problem and it will not just go away. The condition can creep up on a person and he/she may not recognize or acknowledge that they’re depressed. Often it’s other people, friends, and family who realize that the person needs help.  However, you can’t force someone to get help if they don’t want it. Reassure them that help is available and it’s OK to ask it.

 

  1. If the person is undergoing treating, be compassionate and supportive. You can help them with making appointments, taking them to the consultations and making sure they follow their treatment plan.

 

  1. Learn about depression. Understanding the condition – signs, symptoms, and treatment – can help you better support the person.

 

Supporting and caring for a depressed person can put a strain on you. Remember to take care of your own mental health as well.

People with depression often become isolated. Keeping in touch with a friend or loved one who has depression is very important. If you are wondering, “How can I help someone with depression?” then the tips above can help you provide the support and practical help your friend or loved one needs.