how to help someone with depression

How Do You Help Someone With Depression?

Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and can lead to an array of other health issues, including substance use disorders, heart disease and diabetes. The crushing weight of hopelessness and low self-worth may also cause people to believe the world would be better off without them, which is why severe cases of depression can be life-threatening. If you know someone with depression, what can you do to help them?

1. Understand Common Depression Symptoms

Everyone goes through periods where they feel sad or discouraged – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected people’s mental health in newly challenging ways. However, depression is more than a bad mood that will eventually pass. It’s a genuine mental health disorder that can be debilitating. On some days, tasks like getting out of bed, showering and getting dressed may seem like insurmountable challenges.

Depression symptoms can be different for everyone, which is why it can be helpful to know what warning signs to look for. Note any dramatic changes in their behavior, like mood swings, unusual sleeping patterns, diminished appetite or a loss of interest in favorite hobbies. Do you have reasons to suspect your loved one might be relying on drugs and alcohol to manage their mood? Are they having trouble staying upbeat and optimistic?

2. Be Positive and Supportive

Though depression is a treatable condition, its symptoms may prevent people from seeking help – either because they don’t believe they deserve to feel better, or because they lack the executive function required to find a professional therapist, fill out any necessary paperwork and schedule regular appointments.

Demonstrate your willingness to help by researching treatment options, offering to accompany your loved one to therapy appointments or helping them come up with a list of questions to ask in a consultation with a mental health care provider. Once they’re going to regular counseling appointments and following a treatment regimen, don’t forget to congratulate them on any progress they’ve made. 

3. Help Them Stay Active

In addition to working with a therapist, consistent physical activity is one of the best ways to combat depression. Trying to persuade someone living with depression to follow an exercise regimen may feel like an uphill battle, but even something as small as taking a brief, gentle walk around your neighborhood represents progress. Don’t get discouraged if your loved one turns down invitations to exercise with you. Their reluctance to get moving is one of their depression symptoms – not a reflection of how they feel about you.

4. Encourage Them to Seek Help

Though some people may believe depression recovery is possible through willpower alone, the truth is that symptom severity will generally increase without treatment. Holding a mental health intervention can convince them to get qualified help before their illness worsens. However, when trying to solve a problem of this magnitude, leaving anything to chance can be a recipe for disaster. Unplanned interventions could quickly go in the wrong direction, causing anger, tension or resentment.

Hiring a professional to choreograph and lead a mental health intervention ensures you have the best chances of getting someone you love the support they need, while keeping all participants safe.

How to Organize a Depression Intervention

A carefully planned and executed mental health intervention can be a vital step in helping a loved one with depression get on the path to wellness. Call 512-722-7566 or reach out online to learn more about hiring a professional interventionist from Whitman Recovery Service.