How to Support Someone with Depression
Depression is tough, I’ve been there personally through depressive episodes after panic episodes, and I enter a depressive period before and during my menstrual cycle where I lose interest in everything, feel like I don’t have any worth in this world, and I negatively cycle about my body image.
I have not experienced an extended period of depression, but I understand from a personal and support level ways to help someone with depression. This list could go on longer, but these 5 points will get you started towards helping someone with depression.
1. Check in- If you are across the country or your schedules are not aligning to meet up, send them a text or call to check-in. Even better, sending a little care package filled with treats, candles, bath bombs, lotion- anything that will help them practice self-care is always a nice gesture. Plus, who doesn't love getting packages in the mail?
2. Ask how to help- Everyone is different, some people like to be around others, while some prefer more alone time. Ask them how they would like to be supported, this will help cue you into their wants and needs. Maybe your friend is a total foodie, take them out to a restaurant they have wanted to try, or bring takeout to their place.
3. Offer to cook- Sometimes getting out of bed is hard, so cooking a meal is off the table. Pick up groceries and head to their house, cooking is an act of love, and I bet they will appreciate the effort you put into making them food.
4. Provide resources- Sometimes when people are in the middle of a depressive episode, they don’t know what to do, who to go to or where to get help. Provide them with support groups, hotlines, therapists, and other mental health professionals who can help them. You can also call a hotline yourself and ask about resources for helping someone with depression; they are there to help.
5. Share your story- If you have experience with a mental health condition and or depression, tell them about how you managed and continue to manage your mental health. If you don’t have a story, find websites that share inspiring, personal stories, The Mighty is on worth checking out. Quick tip: when sharing your story, always remember, be aware of triggers for yourself and the individual you are helping. Sometimes sharing moments can trigger something- keep it uplifting and positive.
When someone reaches out and tells you they are experiencing depression, know they trust you and may be struggling. It is important to remember that your friend, partner, parent or sibling is the same person they were before experiencing depression. Treat them the same, don’t baby, accuse, or make assumptions because they now have a “diagnosis.” Be there to lend a listening ear, and always remember to take care of yourself.
*If you suspect a loved one is suicidal, please call 911 or the equivalent emergency service in your country.