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Ways to Help a Loved One Who’s Struggling with Depression



Ways to Help a Loved One Who’s Struggling with Depression

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Depression can come to dominate one’s entire life if left unchecked. So, if you have any friends, family members or other loved ones who are struggling with depression, it’s only natural that you’d want to assist them in any way possible. Unfortunately, when it comes to helping depressed loved ones, many of us are unclear on where to start. Anyone looking to provide assistance to someone special in their life who’s afflicted with depression should consider the following pointers.

Practice Empathetic Listening

Feeling completely alone is among the most devastating aspects of depression. Even if a depression sufferer has a sizable support network of friends and family members, they’re liable to feel as if they can’t go to their loved ones for help. Because of the unfortunate stigma society continues to place on mental illness, many people who contend with depression are extremely hesitant to make the people in their lives aware of their struggles.

Since having someone to talk to can come as a tremendous relief to someone trapped in the throes of depression, make sure that any depression sufferers in your life know that they can discuss their problems with you. In some instances, people may come to you seeking practical advice. Other times, they may simply want someone to hear them out.

Regardless of what the party in question wants out of the interaction, make a point of being an empathetic listener. Among other things, this entails listening to what they have to say without judging, interjecting or interrupting. In addition to being outright inconsiderate, such behavior is liable to make a depression sufferer less apt to open up to people in the future. Even if they wish to solicit your opinion on certain matters, abstain from offering it until such time as they’ve finished laying out the situation.

Point Them in the Direction of Professional Help

While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with talking to loved ones about depression, it’s important to understand that depression is often a problem that requires professional assistance. And no matter how many depressed loved ones you’ve counseled over the years, you’re not a suitable substitute for an actual mental healthcare professional. So, if a friend or relative is dealing with a level of depression that warrants formal treatment, do your best to point them in the right direction.

In some cases, convincing depression sufferers to seek therapy or counseling can be an uphill battle. Many people interpret the suggestion that they should go to therapy as an indication that their loved ones are tired of dealing with their problems and want to pawn them off on mental health professionals. So, when trying to urge someone to explore their mental healthcare options, make it clear that you’re suggesting this because you genuinely care about them – and not because you wish to foist them on someone else. Furthermore, make sure they know getting professional help doesn’t mean that you’re no longer open to hearing them out or helping them in any way that you can. If the party in question has never received formal mental health assistance, you can make things less daunting by helping them find a therapist or counselor who’s uniquely suited to treating them.

Help Them Get Involved in Charitable Causes

Helping others can be an effective way to facilitate positive change and improve one’s self-image. So, if there are any causes about which a depressed loved one is passionate, consider helping them get involved in charity work. In addition to helping them focus on other things, engaging in charitable acts together can serve as a great bonding experience for the two of you. So, if the party in question is eager to get involved in domestic terrorism prevention, spreading human rights or any other worthy causes, take care to offer your support.

Watching a loved one struggle with depression can be downright heart-wrenching. Furthermore, if left unaddressed for long periods, depression has the power to overtake every aspect of one’s existence. So, if a friend, family member or acquaintance is currently contending with severe depression, it’s only natural that you’d want to offer a helping hand. With this in mind, take the suggestions outlined above into consideration the next time someone in your life is afflicted with depression.

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