Depression is a serious mental health disorder that affects all aspects of life. Watching someone you care about experience depression is tough, but there are ways you can help. Expressing patience, empathy, and support will help you be there for your loved one when they need it most. Learn more with these tips for supporting a loved one with depression.
Don’t Be Afraid To Bring Up Concerns
If you notice different habits or behavioral changes from your loved one, don’t be afraid to point it out. While it’s important to be non-judgmental when discussing depression, voicing your concerns shows that you care about your loved one and want to help. One way to start is by calmly noting changes that you’ve seen recently. Give your loved one room to respond, and listen if they begin opening up about their recent experiences.
Learn To Recognize Symptoms
Depression symptoms can have a big effect on work, hobbies, relationships, and more. Chances are, your loved one’s symptoms will affect you, too. Facing these symptoms isn’t always easy but being able to recognize them for what they are helps you better understand what your loved one is going through. Keep an eye out for new or worsening symptoms of depression, including:
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness
- Increased frustration or irritability
- Lack of energy or motivation
- Significant changes in sleep patterns or appetite
- Increased anxiety
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
When you can recognize symptoms as signs of depression, you can have clearer, more productive conversations with your loved one about what they’re experiencing and what you can do to help.
Encourage Seeking Treatment
While caring for your loved one is important, you’re not responsible for treating their mental illness. One of the best tips for supporting a loved one with depression is to encourage them to seek professional treatment. There’s no understating the importance of getting help for depression. Stigma, personal pride, anxiety, and other factors can make it difficult to ask for help, but your encouragement and support can help your loved one find the help they need through therapy, medications, or other forms of treatment.
Mental health disorders are serious conditions that take time and effort to treat. By offering support, understanding, and care, you can help your loved one take care of themselves and find ways to get better.