Depression: How to Help When Friends or Family are Depressed

Image: The Favourite Poet by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

The Favourite Poet by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

When someone you know is depressed, it’s understandable if you feel helpless. If you’ve never suffered from clinical depression, how are you going to know what to say and do, or how it feels?

Ways to Help a Depressed Person

  • Listen. Keep in mind that the depressed person isn’t communicating well right now, and is probably speaking slower and less clearly. Be patient and don’t interrupt.
  • Take care of little tasks like feeding the cat or doing the laundry. (This suggestion applies if you don’t live with the person. If you do live with the person, you probably have to take on all the tasks).
  • Along those lines, remember that the depressed person is not being lazy. Think of when you’re really sick and you can barely get out of bed to go to the bathroom. That’s how a depressive can feel all the time.
  • Learn everything you can about depression. Knowledge is power and understanding.
  • Take it seriously if the person talks about suicide. Call their doctor for advice on what to do.
  • Encourage the individual to get professional help for depression if he or she is resisting.
  • If the individual has already started treatment, make sure the depressive is keeping doctor appointments and taking his or her medication.

Ways to Help Yourself

  • Take care of yourself. Depression can be “contagious.” Get out and do something for yourself alone.
  • Recognize that your feelings of anger, frustration and helplessness are valid. Talk to a therapist for help in dealing with them.
  • If you are in a sexual relationship with this person, don’t take it personally if they have lost interest in sex. Sexual drive is one of the first things to go when you’re depressed. Offer hugging and cuddling without an expectation of sex.
  • Know when to let go. After a certain point, especially if the depressed person is not getting help or taking their medicine, there’s nothing you can do. You have to move on with your own life.

Links

  • 10 Ways to Help Someone Who's Depressed
  • Depression Fallout
  • Families for Depression Awareness
  • Helping a Depressed Friend or Family Member
  • Helping a Depressed Person
  • How Family and Friends Can Help
  • How to Help Someone who is Depressed
  • How to know if someone is clinically depressed
  • If You Know Someone Who's Depressed
  • Loving Someone with Depression - Literally, Darling
  • The Purple Elephant in the Room: Talking to Someone with Depression
  • What to Do When a Friend is Depressed: A Guide for Teenagers
  • What to Do When Someone You Love is Depressed
  • What to Do When Your Partner is Depressed
  • 11 thoughts on “Depression: How to Help When Friends or Family are Depressed

    1. Thank you very much for this site! I am at my worst when I believe nobody understands, nobody cares and I am completely on my own.
      Stumbling upon this page has helped me a lot!

      One thing I want to share about safety – As we know one of the symptoms of depression is losing feelings. I was not prepared to lose my felling of fear. One night I went out for a walk long after dark because I didn’t want to run into people I know. I was cutting through a park and was approached by 3 boys asking for money. After I told them I had no money nor credit cards on me, one of them asked the others if, basically they should check it out for themselves. Another boy replied saying, “Nah. She’s telling the truth; she is not even scared.” They left. So if you have a family member who wants to go for a walk by themselves, it’s probably a good idea that someone follows at a safe distance.

    2. Pingback: Sane New World – Taming the Mind | Living a life less toxic...

    3. I struggle with depression. Well, Bipolar 2. So it comes and goes. But I am glad to find sights like this that help me know I am not alone. Thank you for your insights.
      This is another sight that gives a good insight into depression. If anyone wants to check it out. http://www.thedarkcycle.com

    4. My father has depression. It has been hard on my parents marriage, my mum did everything to help him. He didn’t take his medication, he talked about how life was unfair. He yelled at us. He has never hurt us though. Depression changes a person. My parents don’t feel or act the same as they did when they got married. Hope it helped.
      Good luck to anyone with depression. God bless

    5. Is it normal for a 16 year old to be depressed? I’m really worried about one of my friends. He can’t find anything good in life without his ex and all he does is drink so he will be happy for a while then he goes back to being depressed and the cycle goes on and on and I just don’t know what to do with him anymore. I’ve tried a bunch of different things and I just can’t seem to help him in anyway and I’m stuck on what to do. He also said that he would like to die but he doesn’t have the guts to kill himself. I’m really scared because he’s my best friend and I don’t know what I would do without him.

    6. I be depressed all the time I lay down a low I work in my yard too keed my mind going but now I cant do that because I end up in hospital the other day because of the heat pressure kelp going up and I get there its some going on with my heart and they all so said they found stree on my heart I just don’t know what too do I talk too my doctor but nothing have not been done about it yet I be depress so much it make my head hurt soooooo bad what too do what too do

    7. Dealing with depression is so hard especially when growing up, sometimes you just don’t want to do anything at all but sleep or lock yourself in your room but depression affects people differently. There are ways to be victorious over depression.

    8. I would suggest that if a person is talking about suicide, it’s probably best to ask questions to determine whether or not the person is in immediate danger of killing themselves. Questions such as “Have you made a plan to kill yourself?” might shed some light on the immediate state of the person. If the person is suicidal it’s not a good idea to wait and “call their doctor”. The best move would be to enlist emergency services to protect the persons life.

    9. Pingback: How to Help Someone Who is Depressed | Power of Mind Counselling Blog

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

    Subscribe without commenting