If you have a loved one that has been diagnosed with clinical depression, you know how serious it can be. Helping someone with depression is challenging.
However, your support and encouragement can make a difference in his or her life. Whether it’s a spouse, family member or friend, you play a part in the person’s recovery process and can help him or her cope with depression.
Millions of individuals suffer from depression, so you and your loved one are not alone. If you feel helpless or unsure what to do, this guide offers many practical strategies and ideas for offering assistance, supporting your loved one, maintaining your own equilibrium and understanding what clinical depression means for the both of you as you move forward.
Knowing some basic facts about depression is a helpful first step in understanding what your loved one is experiencing. Use the following tips to reach a better perspective of your loved one’s depression.
Even though your loved one has an official diagnosis is undergoing therapy from a mental health professional and has begun the road to recovery, you are still an important part of the process.
Related Article: Health Insurance and Mental Health Treatment
Your support is invaluable. Use some of the following strategies when caring for a person with clinical depression.
One of the best things you can do is be a good listener. Allow your loved one to share his or her thoughts and feelings freely without judgment. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is just be there for support, such as:
Treatment takes time and there is no overnight solution. If possible, learn about the person’s treatment plan so that you can be completely on board and back up the suggestions given by the mental health team.
Avoid offering your own personal advice or over-simplifying depression. While it’s natural to want to offer “solutions,” remind yourself that your loved one has not chosen to be depressed and there is no easy fix. You avoid disappointment by being realistic and show compassion by being patient.
Beyond just encouraging treatment, you can offer support by assisting in monitoring medication or helping the person stay on top of appointments. Find practical ways to help.
If you aren’t sure how, then ask, “How can I help?” You might be surprised how much a simple act like washing the dishes can mean, particularly for someone who is struggling with depression and may have a hard time just getting out of bed in the morning.
Simply asking “What can I do for you?” is a great place to start. Small gestures like a kind text message, a hug or stopping by for some quality time are other ways to show you care.
Related Article: Common Misconceptions About Mental Health and Mental Illness