A person can feel depressed due to many different reasons. Let it be the financial pressure or a chronic disease, depression can affect a person’s behavior, feelings, thoughts, tendencies and even the sense of well-being. According to the World Heart Organization (WHO) report of 2018, depression is a fairly common mental disorder that affects more than 300 million people worldwide. Needless to say, depression is on the rise globally and that is why it is important for everyone to play their role in helping people affected by depression.
Do you know someone in your circle who is depressed? Do you want to help that person but don’t know how to do it? Instead of not doing anything about it, you can do little things that can be really helpful in supporting a depressed person in their recovery. Your encouragement and support can help that person in overcoming negative thoughts and eventually depression.
It is important to understand that a depressed person feels vulnerable. This is where kind, caring words can mean a world to that person. Say these words and let that person know that you are going to help him or her by doing whatever you can:
• Do you need someone to talk with?
• I care about you!
• Is there anything I can do for you?
• I am here for you
• Your presence in my life means a lot to me
• I can understand, I really do
• You are a strong person
• There is always hope
These words may seem less moving to other people, but a depressed person can really find hope in these words. Be a good listener and let the other person talk.
Go for the Cause of Depression by Asking Questions
It is critical to ask questions to better understand the root cause. There are high chances that your friend may not voluntarily tell you everything. That is why it is important to ask questions in better understanding why that person is depressed. Ask questions such as:
• When did you start feeling depressed?
• Is there anything that triggered it?
• What makes you feel bad for yourself?
• Do you have suicidal thoughts?
• Is there anything that makes you feel happy?
Show patience while asking questions because your friend is going through a rough phase of his life. It may take time for your friend to open up and this is where your patience can play a pivotal role.
Help In Identifying and Coping with Sources of Stress
Inarguably, one of the main contributors to depression is stress. It is responsible for interrupting the healthy coping strategies of a depressed person and makes him more defenseless to mood swings. What you can do is to identify the sources of stress and try to find better solutions for them.
Tell Them They Are Strong
Dr. DePaulo explains in his book ‘Understanding Depression: What We Know and What You Can Do About It’ that a depressed person believes that he is not worthy of love. That explains why a person suffering from depression doesn’t want to communicate with his family and friends. This is where you can help that person by reminding him about his strengths. You can cite good times in his life, encourage him to stay strong and tell him that bad time never stays for too long, a good time will come.
Accompany Them to a Doctor or Therapy Sessions
Even though there is a stigma around getting mental health help, you have to convince that person to go with you to a doctor or therapy sessions. It is better if you accompany the person because there are chances that he might not go by himself. This little yet caring gesture can make that person feel that there are people who actually care about him.