Take Their Feelings Seriously
If someone is living with a mental health concern, it isnt possible for them just to snap out of it, cheer up or forget about it. Acknowledge that what’s happening must be difficult to handle don’t tell them that their feelings are weird or unfounded.
Try not to approach your friend like theyre a patient or someone who needs to be fixed…this might make them feel embarrassed and belittled, and can make them close themselves off to you. Anzelmo
If youre not sure how to help someone with depression or anxiety, ask them. You could also offer them some options and let them choose what suits them best. For example, you could offer to listen and let them express their thoughts, or just to hang out, without serious conversation.
Try to be caring, compassionate and curious, and let them know that they matter to you and you are taking them seriously.
Other Ways To Help Include:
- Offering him support, understanding, patience, and encouragement
- Listening carefully and talking with him
- Never ignoring comments about suicide, and alerting his therapist or doctor
- Helping him increase his level of physical and social activity by inviting him out for hikes, games, and other events. If he says, no, keep trying, but don’t push him to take on too much too soon.
- Encouraging him to report any concerns about medications to his health care provider
- Ensuring that he gets to his doctor’s appointments
- Reminding him that with time and treatment, the depression will lift
How To Help Someone With Depression
Dr. Borland recommends some dos and donts to get the conversation going:
Do: Practice assertive communication
Rather than making depression taboo, talk openly with yourfriend about your concerns. Dr. Borland recommends cultivating the art ofassertive communication: You take ownership of your feelings and concerns andcommunicate them without finger-pointing. And you listen and provide yourfriend with unconditional emotional support.
To do this, practice using Istatements. Begin sentences with, Im worried, Im concerned or Ive noticed.Then explain your concerns to your friend, he suggests. Avoid saying, Youdont seem like yourself, or You havent been hanging out as much as youusually do. They can create defensiveness in the person receiving the message.
Do: Show empathy
Put yourself in your friends shoes in a nonjudgmentalway. Think about how you would feel if you were coping with symptoms ofdepression and how you would want friends to react. Maintain eye contact whenlistening, and say things like, That sounds hard. Im sorry you are goingthrough this, and Im always here for you.
And if youve dealt with depression yourself, self-disclosure can be very powerful, Dr. Borland points out. Youre giving your friend a gift by opening yourself up and sharing that you understand.
Do: Set boundaries
Do: Be patient
Dont: Think you can fix it
Dont: Give up
But what if your friend rejects your efforts even when youvedone all the right things?
Recommended Reading: Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobes.
Tell The Person About Depression And Why You Are Concerned
- Stress that depression is not laziness or something in the head. It’s a common disease and is nothing to be embarrassed about.
- Point out the symptoms of depression that you have noticed in your family member or friend, and say why these symptoms worry you. Use a supportive and caring tone of voice while you are doing this.
- Ask the person to answer a few questions to see if he or she might be depressed.
Learn And Use Compassionate Listening
Your loved one may not know how to express how they feel. Your loved one can feel attacked when you discuss the concerns you have about their behavior. Remove words that can trigger unhealthy emotions or the temptation to talk about yourself. Instead, use words of compassion.
Some helpful phrases to use are:
- I am here
- While I dont understand how you feel, I want to help
- Let me know how I can help
Avoid saying things like:
- Think about all the good things in your life
Also Check: What Is The Meaning Of Phobia
How To Help Someone With Depression Who Wont Talk
Everyone has had a bad day, been in a bad mood or experienced a difficult time in their lives, but this isnt the same as being depressed. And if youve never experienced a major depressive disorder, it can be very difficult to understand how it affects everything in your life and can make even the smallest tasks difficult. Some common, but not so helpful ways, people may try to cheer up a depressed person include telling them the situation isnt as bad as it seems, acting as if they can just magically get out of depression with the right playlist or a walk around the block or trying to commiserate too much and end up enabling the person into even more negative behaviors.
While these are all usually done out of concern for your loved one, it can be very frustrating when people with depression arent getting better. The truth is that depression is isolating and can be a very complex mental health condition. It requires a combination of various therapeutic techniques and often medication to start seeing an improvement in symptoms of depression.
However, this doesnt mean that you cant still be of help. Here are some ideas on how to help a friend with depression.
Do Something You Enjoy
Depression can push you to give into your fatigue. It may feel more powerful than happy emotions.
Try to push back and do something you love something thats relaxing, but energizing. It could be playing an instrument, painting, hiking, or biking.
These activities can provide subtle lifts in your mood and energy, which may help you overcome your symptoms.
Research suggests people who spend time in nature have improved mental health.
Exposure to sunlight may offer some of the same benefits. It can increase your serotonin levels, which can provide a temporary mood boost .
Consider taking a walk at lunch among the trees or spending some time in your local park. Or plan a weekend hike. These activities can help you reconnect with nature and soak in some rays at the same time.
Recommended Reading: How To Help People With Depression
Let Her Know Her Feelings Are Valid
Reassuring new moms that their feelings are validno matter what they feelis incredibly important to the postpartum journey. Hormones are wild and new moms feel new things deeply. They are suddenly overwhelmed by an instinctual protective nature and deep love for another tiny human theyre wholly responsible for.
Its a lot.
Ways To Help A Friend Or Family Member With Depression
When someone close to you is depressed, offering support can feel tricky if you don’t know what the person needs. These tips provide a basis for how you can start to help.
Depression doesnt happen in a vacuum. It causes a ripple effect that touches everyone surrounding the person. Family members and friends often feel helpless, not knowing how to reach out or what to do to help their suffering loved one.
It would be nice if the depressed person could vocalize their needs, so that friends and families knew exactly what to say and do. However, according to J. Raymond DePaulo Jr., MD, a former professor of psychiatry and the director of the affective disorders clinic at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, their relationship skills are significantly diminished. Communication becomes problematic because the person is embarrassed to say how they feel, anticipating judgment.
How does a family member proceed, then, with little or no direction? Every individual is different in how they handle the beast of depression, but here are a few universal things you can try that will empower both you and your loved one toward recovery and hope.
Read Also: Phobia Suffix
Learn About What Your Friend Is Going Through
Not totally sure what depression or anxiety are, or how to help a friend with depression or anxiety? A really great first step in helping your friend is to find out more about depression, anxiety or anything else your friend is going through this will help you to better understand what’s happening and how they feel.
My friends try to learn more about what Im experiencing, especially asking for and going to sources of information I recommend. hellofriend
How Can I Tell If Someone Is Depressed
Depressed, sad, or irritable mood that lasts for most of the day
Loss of interest in things or activities that the person once enjoyed
Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
Either an increase or decrease in movement, such as appearing sluggish or agitated and nervous
Often feeling tired
Suicidal thoughts, plans, or attempts
If someone you know is depressed, you might also notice other signs such as:
Neglecting hygiene or appearing disheveled
Appearing aloof or distant from others
Giving away important items, which can be a sign of suicidal ideation
Using drugs or alcohol or engaging in risky behaviors like gambling
Complaining of physical symptoms like pain, headaches, and muscle tension
If you know someone who is showing signs of depression, you may be wondering how you can help them. Having an open discussion about your concerns and encouraging them to get help is the next step.
Recommended Reading: What’s The Phobia Of Long Words
Listen To Her And Let Her Know You Arent Judging
Allowing new moms to have the space to share their feelings and thoughts without judgement is one of the best ways to support them.
Intrusive thoughts are common in postpartum. Most people dont feel comfortable sharing these disturbing thoughts even in therapy. However, speaking them out loud often gives the scary thoughts less power. A great book to refer her to is Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts by Karen Kleiman.
Continue Supporting Them And Respond To Emergencies
On a bad day, your friend might not want to leave their room. If they say something like Im going to cancel my appointment today, encourage them to follow through with the appointment.
Whether or not your friend has decided to get professional help, its important that they know they can get support from you, or other friends and family.
If you think your friend may be in danger or at risk of hurting themselves or someone else, seek help from a trusted adult or emergency mental health service immediately. Call 000 to reach emergency services and also tell someone you trust.
In more serious cases, its important to let an older/more responsible adult know whats going on. You dont have to be perfect all the time and making mistakes are inevitable and a good thing as we can learn from them. Anzelmo
Recommended Reading: Does Pristiq Help With Anxiety
Tip : Eat A Healthy Depression
What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel. Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your brain and mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, and foods with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones .
Dont skip meals. Going too long between meals can make you feel irritable and tired, so aim to eat something at least every three to four hours.
Minimize sugar and refined carbs. You may crave sugary snacks, baked goods, or comfort foods such as pasta or French fries, but these feel-good foods quickly lead to a crash in mood and energy. Aim to cut out as much of these foods as possible.
Boost your B vitamins. Deficiencies in B vitamins such as folic acid and B-12 can trigger depression. To get more, take a B-complex vitamin supplement or eat more citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken, and eggs.
Boost your mood with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.Omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in stabilizing mood. The best sources are fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, tuna, and some cold-water fish oil supplements.
Irritability Agitation And Moodiness
Not everyone who snaps at you is depressed, but another red flag of depression is heightened irritability, agitation, and moodiness. Little things set you off like a loud conversation next to you on the bus, or an itchy tag on your sweater. Sigmund Freud once referred to depression as anger turned inward. That anger can surface as thoughts of self-harm or the desire to harm someone else. If thats you, get immediate help.
Also Check: Feretrophobia Define
Learn More About Depression
People can read blogs, books, websites, message boards, and other resources to learn more about what it feels like to have depression. These information platforms can also explain the various treatments, therapy methods, and other factors that may be helpful.
Researching the subject can enable someone to understand better what their loved one is going through.
If a person has experienced depression themselves, they should not assume that their experiences are the same as their loved ones. Each person with depression faces their own journey with challenges that will be unique to them.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Depression In Men
Different men have different symptoms, but some common depression symptoms include:
- Anger, irritability, or aggressiveness
- Feeling anxious, restless, or on the edge
- Loss of interest in work, family, or once-pleasurable activities
- Problems with sexual desire and performance
- Feeling sad, “empty,” flat, or hopeless
- Not being able to concentrate or remember details
- Feeling very tired, not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much
- Overeating or not wanting to eat at all
- Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
- Physical aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
- Inability to meet the responsibilities of work, caring for family, or other important activities
- Engaging in high-risk activities
- A need for alcohol or drugs
- Withdrawing from family and friends or becoming isolated
Not every man who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some men experience only a few symptoms while others may experience many.
You May Like: What Is The Phobia Of Throwing Up
Exercise Is Something You Can Do Right Now To Boost Your Mood
Your fatigue will improve if you stick with it. Starting to exercise can be difficult when youre depressed and feeling exhausted. But research shows that your energy levels will improve if you keep with it. Exercise will help you to feel energized and less fatigued, not more.
Find exercises that are continuous and rhythmic. The most benefits for depression come from rhythmic exercisesuch as walking, weight training, swimming, martial arts, or dancingwhere you move both your arms and legs.
Add a mindfulness element, especially if your depression is rooted in unresolved trauma or fed by obsessive, negative thoughts. Focus on how your body feels as you movesuch as the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, or the feeling of the wind on your skin, or the rhythm of your breathing.
Pair up with an exercise partner. Not only does working out with others enable you to spend time socializing, it can also help to keep you motivated. Try joining a running club, taking a water aerobics or dance class, seeking out tennis partners, or enrolling in a soccer or volleyball league.
Take a dog for a walk.If you dont own a dog, you can volunteer to walk homeless dogs for an animal shelter or rescue group. Youll not only be helping yourself but also be helping to socialize and exercise the dogs, making them more adoptable.
Counselling Or Talk Therapy
The primary treatment for depression or anxiety is psychological counseling, also called talk therapy or psychotherapy. Several types of talk therapy have been shown to be safe and effective for the treatment of depression.
- Cognitive behaviour therapy can help us see how our thoughts and actions are connected to our feelings. CBT teaches us how to replace negative, depressive thoughts and behaviours with more positive, constructive thoughts and actions.
- Interpersonal psychotherapy focuses on improving relationships by helping us to resolve conflicts that are contributing to the depression.
- Solution-focused therapy focuses on personal strengths and helps us to create a positive future for ourself by finding solutions to our stresses and problems.
Recommended Reading: Does Celine Dion Have An Eating Disorder
Tips To Help Someone Who Seems Down
- Let them know you care and are there to listen.
- Accept them as they are, without judging them.
- Gently encourage them to help themselves for example, by staying physically active, eating a balanced diet and doing things they enjoy.
- Get information about the services available to them, such as psychological therapy services or depression support groups in their area.
- Stay in touch with them by messaging, texting, phoning or meeting for coffee. People who are depressed can become isolated and may find it difficult to leave their home.
- Try to be patient.
- Take care of yourself.
Depression Treatment Options At Gateway
A dual diagnosis is when a person suffers from a substance abuse disorder as well as a co-existing mental illness like depression or anxiety. Both conditions require medical and therapeutical treatment. The danger of a co-occurring disorder is that a person may never get the chance to understand or cope with the trauma that contributed to their disorder.
Individuals suffering from both depression and substance abuse disorders require integrated treatment plans that address their mental health needs as well as their need for detox and recovery. At Gateway, we offer diagnosis services that utilize a variety of therapies to target both aspects of co-occurring disorders.
Don’t Miss: Phagia Suffix Meaning
If You Do Only One Thing Let It Be Listening
You could disregard everything Ive written and just do this: Listen. Suspend all judgments, save all interjections do nothing more than make excellent eye contact and open your ears. In her bestselling book Kitchen Table Wisdom, Rachel Naomi Remen writes:
“I suspect that the most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. And especially if its given from the heart. When people are talking, theres no need to do anything but receive them. Just take them in. Listen to what theyre saying. Care about it. Most times caring about it is even more important than understanding it.”
Important: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not Everyday Health.