Do you know someone who’s dealing with depression? Chances are you do. Depression is remarkably common in the United States. In any given year, it’s estimated that 44 million Americans will suffer a major depressive episode. However, fewer than half of those who suffer will seek out professional help.
For someone who suffers from depression, getting help can be a tricky proposition. Just admitting you need help is hard enough. It takes time and effort to find the right treatment. And sometimes, you need to try several therapists or clinics before you settle on one. This process is even trickier when you’re dealing with a friend, spouse, or partner. How do you approach them? What do you say? Do you risk offending them or possibly damaging your relationship? Could you do their condition more harm than good?
Let’s be honest: Broaching the subject of therapy with your loved one isn’t going to be easy. Indeed, your intentions are good. But you have no way to predict what they’ll think or how they’ll react. And since no two people are alike, there’s no lab-tested method for tackling the topic. But the effort is worth it, and there are a few rules of thumb you can keep in mind.
First and foremost, don’t panic. Your demeanor will make a big difference in how your discussion will go. Someone who is already troubled certainly doesn’t need more to worry about, and will be far more open to listening if you keep your cool. Remain calm and patient as you talk. Try not to take things personally. Stay on topic. And if it’s not working, stop and tell yourself to try again under different circumstances. Then do just that. Kindness and persistence are useful allies when thinking about how to help someone with depression.
How to Help Someone With Depression By Offering Support
You may think this is a bit of a no-brainer—you’re the one trying to help, after all—but give it some thought. If they haven’t sought support yet, maybe there’s a reason. Perhaps they fear the stigma of mental illness. Their family might think all she needs is some willpower and determination. Their friends might label her “unstable” or “crazy.” Your friend might have gone through this with a friend or loved one of their own and not wish to suffer similarly. And don’t forget the stubborn power of pride. The point is, there are plenty of reasons showing support may be more necessary than you think.
Depression is also a very isolating illness. Unlike a physical problem, it’s unseen and unnoticed by all but the most careful observers. Plus, it’s not something people like to discuss. Imagine how alone you might feel if you weren’t even sure you could trust your thoughts and feelings.
The most important thing you can do is show you’re on their side. No judgment. No ultimatums. Nothing they’re not ready for or willing to do. You’re there for them, whatever shape that takes. You may not get much further than this to start with, but it is, indeed, a start.
Educate yourself about depression. You may not know everything about your friend or partner, but you likely know enough to start figuring out the next steps. So do some research. When your friend is ready to address their problem, you want to be able to provide guidance. Learn what the next steps will be so you can maintain forward progress.
Don’t forget, though, that you’re not a doctor. No matter how much you learn or think you can help, there are certain things best left to the professionals. So get them the help they need; support them through the process. But stay in your lane. Establish boundaries so you and your friend both know what you can expect from the other person. Be aware that you can create new problems even while trying to solve old ones.
Unless you’re a mental health professional, you might not know just how to help someone with depression. That being the case, you might find yourself unsure what the best thing to do is, or what to do next. When that happens, don’t force the issue. Just listen. Your friend may well tell you what they need. Sometimes being heard is enough to make a difference.
South Tampa Psychiatry Knows How to Help Someone With Depression
Are you trying to determine how to help someone with depression? If so, South Tampa Psychiatry can help. We’re experts in dealing with a multitude of mental health issues, including depression. With some of the area’s top psychiatrists on staff, we’re able to provide outstanding care tailored to our patients’ individual needs.
By seeking professional help, you can improve your friend or loved one’s chances of overcoming the challenges of depression. Don’t wait. Take the first step toward a better outcome by calling us at 866.273.5017.