9 Ways to Help a Friend or Family Member with Depression

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When someone you love is struggling with depression, you may feel compelled to do whatever you can to help him or her heal. What can you say or do to lend support?

 You can be the most helpful in the following ways:

  1. Learn more. Self-education will lead to a deeper understanding of depression, and a more sensitive approach to your loved one.
  2. Ask questions; ask more questions. To take action, you have to know what you’re dealing with. Ask about triggers. Ask how long he or she has felt down. Ask if suicidal thoughts are part of the picture. You need to know as much as possible, as early as possible.
  3. Provide unknown info. While your loved one’s symptoms and behaviors may be a puzzling mix for doctors, you may see a clear timeline or trajectory that escapes a stranger. Take good look at your loved one, and pose a few hypotheses based on what you see. It may help treatment turn a corner.
  4. Discuss stress. Stress dumps cortisol into your system. A continual outpouring of it into your loved one’s body means feeling good is unlikely. Stress reduction needs to be a priority.
  5. Discuss support. Look for and talk about ways to help ease his or her daily burdens. Set up supportive therapy. Full recovery depends on it.
  6. Recap personal strengths. Depression plays havoc with self-esteem. Remind him or her of all the strong points you know about them.
  7. Give laughter. Nothing keeps fear, panic, and sorrow at bay like humor and laughter.
  8. Instill hope. Let your loved one know that the way they are feeling will pass. Remind them that their future is better and brighter, and that you are looking forward to sharing it with them.
  9. Listen. Look your depressed and suffering loved one in the face and listen. Without judgment or interruption, just be there.

Read the entire article here: 9 Ways to Help a Friend or Family Member with Depression

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