How Do I Help Someone Who’s Depressed?
When it comes to depression, dealing with the situation can be very challenging – whether it comes to you dealing with it or a friend.
Helping someone else through a depressive episode begins with understanding, empathy, and a well-structured plan, based on best practices and expert recommendations. The reason is simple – when addressing someone else’s depression, you must be very careful with your words and try not to say the wrong thing, as it can have a massive impact on the person.
In the guide below, we will go over some of the basics of reaching out a helping hand to a person with depression. What to say to someone who is depressed, how to say it, and how to stay present no matter how difficult the situation is? Let’s dig deeper into the art of being there for people with depression.
Is Depression Just a Prolonged State of Sadness?
Depression is not about being sad for some time and then recovering like it never happened. Instead, we usually talk about a mental health condition called clinical depression, which has many different symptoms.
Such depression symptoms can be:
- Mood changes like low energy and sadness;
- Less appetite;
- Not being able to enjoy your favorite activities;
- Having insomnia or sleeping constantly;
- Losing or gaining weight rapidly;
- Having brain fog and doing lots of pacing;
- Feeling hopeless and having low self-esteem;
- Suicidal thoughts, etc.
Depression affects 1 in 15 adults annually and can last around two weeks at a time. It’s usually triggered by a traumatic, painful, or emotionally distressing event. However, sometimes depressive episodes can come and go without any specific reason.
The good news is that both mild and severe depression is treatable. The first option is to use psychotherapy, like cognitive-behavioral therapy. Also, long-term lifestyle changes and medications are usually prescribed alongside therapy.
But how do you handle such a delicate situation? What to say to a depressed person? Can you help ease their everyday life in a way?
Helping and Finding the Right Words for Someone with Depression
Lots of people ask themselves what to say to someone who is depressed and what to do to help them.
So, we have accumulated a small guide on finding the right words and knowing how to help a friend with depression.
Affirmations to Say to Help a Depressed Friend
When you are wondering what to say to someone who is depressed, you have to be as positive and loving as possible. So pick your words very carefully and sound as compassionate as possible.
You can tell them how loved they are, that it’s okay to feel such a way and that they are not alone. Tell them how important they are to you and that they can be sure that you will be right there by their side.
Encourage them that hope is still there, and even in the darkest days, it’s good for them to remember that they can give you a call – no matter the time. Sometimes a good old phone call or FaceTime could be the thing that will get them through the day.
Always repeat that they are still the same person before their depression episode and that they will get back to normal very soon. Remember to check up on them regularly, so they don’t sink into their melancholy feelings deeper and deeper as suicidal thoughts might surface.
Note: NEVER relate your own sad situations and times to their current situation. Sometimes linking your own experience to theirs might not help the problem but rather make the conversation about you. Instead, it would be best to let them help you understand what’s going on in their mind and where it’s coming from.
Recommend the Right Tools to Help
Right after giving your loved ones affirmations and having a conversation, it’s good to offer help and recommend the right tools.
You can suggest going to yoga or practicing meditation at home or in a class. However, these tools for help are simply additions to therapy and medication.
If you know good therapists, you can recommend some and reassure your friend or relative that seeking help is not shameful. On the contrary, it’s the right path toward feeling better and being more mindful of your emotions and feelings. This is the proper form of self-care and the most valuable one.
You can also suggest online therapy as a good way for the depressed person to rip the benefits of treatment in the comfort of their own home. It’s a great way to feel connected to a specialist and not have the excuse of having to leave the house.
Help Out with Daily Tasks
When asking yourself how to help someone with depression, the last option is to help with the everyday stuff. Sometimes just saying to someone that they can give you a call is not enough. The depressed person needs some help with their errands as depression can suck the energy from them in ways you probably couldn’t quite imagine.
Before assuming what they need, ask them directly. For example, ask what chores they must do today, clean their house, and get groceries. You can help with their kids if they have any or with their pets. You can simply be a listening ear and be there for a hug if that’s what they need.
Note that depressed people struggle with asking for help, so you can offer it instead. You can even be their exercise partner and go to the gym or run in the park. Going for a nice walk and grabbing a cup of coffee is also another form of exercise.
Generally, when dealing with mental health conditions such as depression, it’s essential to put the well-being of the depressed person first. Therefore, provide as much support and guidance to them as possible.
Depressive episodes can happen often or seldom, but their grasp on the person could be rather strong when they do. Sometimes such episodes come in with a reason and sometimes without one.
It can happen to anyone, so taking care of your friends and family and watching for any of the symptoms mentioned above can save someone’s life.
When taking care of others, you should be taking care of your mental health, too. Seek help, stay mindful, and be gentle because the light at the end of the road is a light we shine together.