How to Help When Someone You Love is Suffering from Depression
By: Sara Smith, B.S.W.
When someone you care about is struggling with depression, it can be difficult to know how you can help and what resources are available. Depression is a serious medical illness that an average of 16.6% of people will experience at some time during their lifei. Depression is different than feelings of sadness or the natural process of grief. Depression is treatable, and with treatment most people will recover from depression. Symptoms of depression can include the following and must last at least two weeks in order for someone to be diagnosed with depression.
Signs of Depressionii
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite that result in weight gain or weight loss
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or feeling tired
- Feeling bad about yourself, worthless, or guilty
- Trouble concentrating, thinking, or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
If someone you love is showing signs of depression you may worry that talking to them about it will make them feel worse, be upsetting for them, or cause them to lash out at you. Sometimes starting the conversation is the hardest part. Here are some ways you can start the conversation and help them get the help they neediii.
Start the Conversation
Try to engage them in a conversation about what you are seeing, and let them know you care and are concerned. While some people may deflect and say "I’m fine", letting them know specific changes in mood or behavior that you have noticed may help them also see the affect this is having on their life, and knowing someone cares can help increase their desire to get the help they need. For example, you may say "I’m worried about you. I’ve noticed that you’ve stopped exercising or going out with your friends and that you’ve seemed sad."
Encourage Them to Seek Support
Encourage your loved one to schedule an appointment with a mental health care provider or with their primary care provider.
If you are concerned about a loved one’s safety and need help please call one of the following resources:
Get support for Yourself
In order to help your loved one, you need to make sure you have the support you need. It can be difficult to watch someone you care about struggle with depression and this can take a toll on your own mental and physical health. Your primary care doctor, Life-Work Connections (EAP), or Behavioral Health Partners (BHP) can offer the emotional support or mental health services you need.
Behavioral Health Partners is brought to you by Well-U, offering eligible individuals mental health services for stress, anxiety, and depression. Our team of mental health professionals can accurately assess your symptoms and make recommendations for treatment. To schedule an intake appointment, give us a call at (585) 276-6900.
References & Resources
Keith Stein |