It’s often frustrating and can make a person feel helpless to try and help someone who’s depressed or who suffers from depression. Whether it’s clinical depression or the winter blues, a person who’s depressed is often looking for ways to get help, but may not know where or how to start.
That’s where you come in.
By recognizing the signs of depression, you can be a great help to a friend or loved one who may be just starting to grapple with it, but not recognize it themselves.
Here are 10 ways you can help someone today with depression.
- Recognize the symptoms.
- Convince the depressed person to get treatment or, in the case of a depressed child or adolescent, help the youngster get treatment.
- Tell the depressed person that he or she is loved, deserves to feel better, and will feel better with appropriate treatment.
- Recommend helping resources.
- If the depressed person is not functioning, accompany him or her to treatment until normal function returns.
- If the depressed person is too young or ill to provide needed information to the therapist, act as a go-between as long as needed.
- If the depressed person is suicidal or having hallucinations or delusions, arrange for hospitalization.
- If the depressed person is functional and refuses treatment, seek the assistance of others — friends, doctor, clergy, relatives — who might convince him or her that treatment is needed and will help.
- Don’t give up too soon — the depressed person may have to hear more than once and from several people that he or she deserves to feel better and can, with proper treatment.
- If all efforts to encourage the depressed person to seek treatment have failed, and the depressed person is having a demoralizing impact on those around, further action is needed:
- A supervisor might threaten personnel action unless the depressed employed gets treatment.
- A spouse, with the assistance of a mental health specialist, can explore separation from the depressed husband or wife who refuses treatment.
- Parents of a depressed adult can clarify, with the help of a mental health specialist, how much assistance to give their depressed offspring.
- Children, other relatives, friends, or doctors of a depressed older person can assist him or her to get help from a mental health specialist who has geriatric experience and who may be willing to reach out to the older person by telephone and home visits.
It isn’t always easy to help the depressed person get treatment, but it can be done, and helping can make you both feel better.