10 ways to support Anyone battling depression

Remember, while you can offer support, you’re not a replacement for professional help.
Depressed man
Depression, a mental health condition that affects millions globally, can be challenging not just for those who experience it but for their loved ones as well.

It can manifest as persistent feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities, and a range of physical and emotional problems.

If someone you care about is battling depression, your support can make a significant difference. Here are some ways you can help:

  1. Educate yourself
    Understanding depression is the first step. It’s not simply “feeling sad” or something one can “snap out of.” By recognising the complexity of depression, you’ll be in a better position to offer genuine support.
  2. Listen actively
    Often, what someone with depression needs most is a non-judgmental ear. Listen more than you speak, avoid offering unsolicited advice, and resist the urge to relate everything they say to your personal experiences.
  3. Avoid clichés
    Phrases like “Just think positive,” or “Everyone has bad days” might seem helpful, but they can trivialise the person’s feelings. Instead, say things like, “I’m here for you,” or “What can I do to help?”
  4. Encourage getting professional help
    While your support is invaluable, depression often requires professional intervention. Please encourage them to see a doctor, therapist, or counsellor.

Offer to help find local resources or accompany them if they’re comfortable.

  1. Be patient
    Recovery from depression doesn’t happen overnight. There will be good days and bad days. Celebrate the small victories and understand that setbacks are part of the journey.
  2. Check in regularly
    A simple text message or call can mean a lot. Regular check-ins show the person that you care and are thinking of them, even when you’re not around
  3. Encourage physical activity
    Exercise can help alleviate the symptoms of depression due to the release of endorphins. Invite them for a walk in the park, a swim, or even just a stroll around the neighbourhood.
  4. Help them stick to treatment
    If they’re on medication or attending therapy sessions, offer reminders or assist with routine tasks to ensure they stick to their treatment plan.
  5. Stay informed about warning signs
    Severe depression can lead to self-harm or suicidal thoughts. Stay informed about the signs, and if you suspect they might be at risk, seek immediate help.
  6. Take care of yourself
    Supporting someone with depression can be emotionally taxing. Ensure you also take breaks, seek support, and prioritise your well-being.
    Remember, while you can offer support, you’re not a replacement for professional help.

The journey might be challenging, but with understanding, patience, and consistent support, you can make a positive difference in the life of someone with depression.

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