How to Help Someone with Depression: The Do’s and; Don’t’s
An estimated 7% of people in the U.S. ages 18 and older suffer from depression, but figuring out how to help someone with depression is not the easiest thing in the world. Finding a depression treatment center in South Jersey may seem even harder. Here’s what you need to know about helping someone with depression to support your friend or family member.
1. DO LEARN WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Do you know the signs of depression? Does your friend say, “I’m fine”? But, you know that something is wrong.
Follow your gut instinct and learn what to look for. For example, they may:
- Stop doing leisure activities they once loved
- Be more pessimistic
- Talk about shame, worthlessness or feeling that “it’s just no use trying”
- Seem irritable
- Neglect basic hygiene
- Eat more or less than usual
2. DO LISTEN
If you want to know how to help someone with depression, the best thing you can do is listen. Ask open-ended questions to find out more about what they are thinking and avoid putting words in their mouth.
3. DON’T SAY “I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL.”
Some people learning how to help someone with depression try to empathize. They do so by sharing their own similar experiences. Why? Because they want to show that they understand. But it usually just ends up making it “about you” instead of your loved one.
4. DON’T NEGLECT YOUR OWN NEEDS
Avoid letting a person who is depressed bring you down or convince you to neglect your own needs. For example, if you have a spouse who never wants to go out with friends, don’t stay at home with them every night. Social interaction is a basic human need, and you shouldn’t deprive yourself of it. Neglecting your own needs may lead you down the road to depression, codependency, or other mental health challenges.
5. DO SET BOUNDARIES
Physical and emotional boundaries help you define where you stop and where your loved one starts. In some cases, these boundaries become blurred. When that happens, a related condition called “enmeshment” occurs, which is common in codependency. As a result, it becomes hard to distinguish how you’re feeling from the feelings of your loved one.
Maintaining a strong sense of self is vital for helping someone with depression.
6. DO OFFER TO HELP WITH DAY-TO-DAY TASKS
It’s okay to offer to help them with things that aren’t usually your responsibility. For example, you might offer to do laundry together if they’re getting behind, cook the kids dinner, or go pick up some groceries.
Always ask in a genuinely supportive way, and be ready for a possible half-hearted thank you. Seeming not to care is often a protection mechanism when a person feels overwhelmed and depressed.
7. DO HELP THEM GET INTO A SUPPORTIVE PROGRAM
A person who is depressed may know they would benefit from a program, but looking for a therapist or getting to appointments may be overwhelming and seem like too much to handle. As they begin to heal, it will get easier. The best thing you can do is help them make the first step.
In other words, you may be helping them set the appointment. Additionally, you might arrange childcare, help them get ready, and even drive them yourself. While it may seem like over-reaching, it’s just a push in the right direction. They will need to accept the gift you’ve given and make the most of it by completing depression treatment.
HOW TO HELP SOMEONE WITH DEPRESSION THROUGH HARMONY BAY WELLNESS
At Harmony Bay Wellness, our compassionate team of professionals offers those with depression a chance to learn how to manage their condition and re-discover life through integrative wellness. We take a holistic approach to health by addressing body, mind, emotion, and spiritual wellness. Our holistic approach includes techniques such as:
- Yoga and meditation, which have proven mental health benefits
- Sleep management
- Nutrition therapy
- Stress reduction strategies
- Telehealth for those who live far away but need regular check-ins
If you or a loved one are suffering from depression, know that you are not alone, and healing is possible. Call Harmony Bay Wellness at 855.765.6399 to learn more.