Depression -- Helping Someone Who's Depressed

Watching a friend or family member go through depression can be extremely difficult. You may feel helpless to assist your loved one, but there are some things you can do. 

  • The single most important thing you can do to help someone suffering from depression is make sure they get diagnosed and into treatment. Help that person stay with their treatment, make appointments, checkup on them to make sure they are following their treatment, and encourage them to follow all of their doctor's orders. 
      
  • Offer your emotional support. Understanding, patience, affection, and encouragement are things your loved one needs at this time in their life. Talk to them. Listen to them. Offer them hope. Take them on small outings. Be gently insistent, but try not to overwhelm the person. Do not ignore remarks a depressed person makes about suicide. Report them immediately to the person's therapist. 
      
  • Understand this person has an illness. Don't accuse them of faking their illness or of being lazy. Don't expect them to suddenly be better. Though most people do get better with treatment, it can be a long process. Keep reassuring your loved one that with time and help he or she too will feel better. 

If you feel you or someone you care about may be suffering from depression, it is important that you contact your doctor or a mental health professional.

The National Institute of Mental Health provides indepth information about many different aspects of depression.

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