Depression is the most common mental health disorder worldwide, especially in the United States. It affects more than half of adults at some point and can manifest after traumatic events, the loss of a loved one, a significant change like a move or a new job, or following things like pregnancy.
If you notice signs of depression in someone else, you might wonder how to help someone with depression without accidentally making it worse.
How to Help Someone with Depression
There are many ways you can learn how to help someone with depression. Whether it is a spouse, child, family member, friend, or someone at work, simple steps can significantly affect how that individual copes with their symptoms and whether they get help.
Talk to Them
Not everyone realizes they are struggling with depression. Even people who do, struggle with the dichotomy of desperately wanting someone else to notice but being terrified that anyone will see they are depressed. If you want to figure out how to help someone with depression, you need to start by talking with them.
Sometimes it’s easier to get someone struggling with depression to open up about their feelings if you share something intimate about your mental health struggles.
“How is work going? I can’t imagine what it would be like taking on that new position. The last time I had a promotion at work, it was so stressful it caused severe anxiety and depression. I felt like I couldn’t open up to anyone, and everyone just expected me to be fine.”
“How are you getting on after the funeral? I can’t imagine what you are going through, but I remember when my family member passed away last year, I fell into a deep depression. I didn’t feel like talking to anyone and could barely convince myself to go to work.”
When you do talk to someone with depression, offer support in every way you can. You don’t have to understand what they’re going through to offer support by saying things like “I am here with you.”
In this case, the word “with” can be very powerful, conveying that they aren’t helpless or in need of your support, but rather, that their struggles are common and they can turn to you as a supportive partner in their quest for help.
Sometimes that help might be recommending a treatment facility, getting therapy, or enrolling in outpatient programs.
Bring Them to Activities
Things like mindfulness, physical activity, and socialization are all effective strategies for coping with the signs and symptoms of depression. However, individuals who struggle with depression may not recognize the usefulness of these skills or be willing to seek out activities that involve these opportunities on their own.
If you want to learn how to help someone with depression, you can invite them to participate in relaxing activities with you. Some of the most effective ways to get people with depression to participate in these activities with you is to frame your request as though they are the ones doing you a favor. For example:
“I am interested in trying a new yoga class in town. Will you go with me, so I’m not alone?”
“I found this new mindfulness application, but I think I would be more willing to stick with the daily meditation activities if I had a partner. Will you help me stay accountable?”
“I have had a stressful day at work. I could really use some exercise. Would you go with me on a short walk around the neighborhood?
“I found a new bike trail nearby. Would you be willing to come with me so we can check it out together and maybe bring a picnic?”
Can I Help Someone with Depression If They Don’t Know They Are Depressed?
If you are noticing signs and symptoms of depression in someone close to you, you can still help even if they don’t realize they have a depressive disorder. You can figure out how to help someone with depression by talking to them, opening up a conversation about how they feel and how long their feelings have lasted, and encouraging a relaxed, stress-free environment with them.
Can I Help Someone with Depression Who Needs Professional Treatment?
If you notice signs or symptoms that point toward potential self-harm or harm in others, the best way to help someone is to encourage them to seek professional treatment. Mental health treatment centers like Water Gap Wellness Center offer individualized depression treatment programs for mental health.
Our facility has qualified individuals who can talk to you or your loved one about the signs of depression, what types of treatment might be best, and which coping skills can help control symptoms at their worst. Everyone deserves to get help when they need it. Let us help today.
Call Water Gap Wellness Center now to learn more about our depression treatment.