Depression is one of the leading causes of suicide. Since September is suicide awareness month, I wanted to take a step back and discuss depression. Depression isn’t just sadness. It’s real and it effects friends and loved ones in many different ways.
When I was a teenager I suffered with depression and now as an adult have experienced a best friend losing their loved one to suicide. Depression is one of those emotions that can be hidden and you may not even know that there was a problem in the first place. Make sure that you are looking out for the signs and also helping those that you may suspect are suffering in silence from depression.
Here are 9 ways to help those with depression:
#1 Keep Treatment Options in Mind
As a friend or family member, you may want to help the person with depression, but depression is a medical condition that can’t always be treated at home. Support your loved ones by keeping treatment options in mind.
#2 Listen to them
One of the best solutions to depression is to just listen. The person with depression needs an outlet. They need someone they can go to and talk to when life gets tough. Be that support person that just listens without talking.
#3 Stay in Contact with the Person
Call the person each day, drop by for a visit, or take them out to dinner. Many people who are depressed don’t want to bother other people and become isolated. This isolation can lead to further depression. Stay connected to help alleviate some depression.
#4 Stay Alert to Changing Situations
If the person who is depressed suddenly starts talking about wanting to end their life, loses interest in previously loved activities, or is abusing drugs and alcohol. These can all be signs depression is getting worse and may lead to something else. Seek help from a professional at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK
#5 Ask the Right Questions
You never want a depressed person to feel attacked or like they are doing something wrong. If you need to get answers, here are a few questions you can ask:
When did you start feeling this way?
How can I help you?
Have you thought about talking to a doctor or therapist?
What would make you feel better?
#6 Be Encouraging and Supporting
A person who is feeling depressed doesn’t need to feel worse. As you listen to your friend or loved one, use sentences like this:
I am here for you no matter what.
I am sorry you are feeling this way, but it is going to get better!
I don’t know exactly how you feel, but I love you and I want to help you get through this.
I care about you and your life is important to me.
#7 Help with Small Tasks
It may take every ounce of strength for a depressed person to get out of bed and put on their clothes. Help them with small tasks such as vacuuming, washing the dishes, or doing a load of laundry. Keeping up on things will prevent the depression from sinking its teeth in further.
#8 Make Sure They Keep Doctor Appointments
If your friend or family member has already sought out help, make sure they get to their appointments. Offer to give them a ride and or pick them up from their appointments. Encourage them to go even if they start to feel better.
#9 Take Care of Yourself
You won’t be any good to your loved one or friend if you aren’t taking care of yourself. Keep your spirits up by doing things you enjoy, eating healthy meals, and maintaining your hygiene. The last thing you need is to become depressed yourself.
Depression is not something to be ignored. If you or a friend are suffering from depression, get help National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
Do you have any advice or tips to add? Has depression or suicide touched you personally? I would love if you would share this post with your friends and family or even post a short comment with advice or a tidbit of wisdom to raise awareness. Suicide and depression are real and they could affect anyone.