Some quick tips for supporting someone with depression

By | July 10, 2015

Depression is a terrible disorder which can sabotage relationships, friendships, family and friends. The person that suffers from depression can feel hopeless and worthless. Those around the person that suffers can feel helpless. Its effects impact everyone that are involved, and it sucks. Being on both sides of this illness I thought I may share some things that could help out.

1. Education
It is next to impossible to be supportive of someone with depression if you don’t understand it. You can do your own research by checking out places online like Beyond Blue or simply using Google to search for information about mental illness and depression.

2. Don’t judge or criticize
You can have a powerful impact on a person suffering from depression just by what you say to them. Saying things like “you should be more positive” or “I think it is all in your head” can have very negative impacts. Things like this can imply that the person suffering has a choice in how they feel and have chosen to be depressed.

3. Find the right moment
You may have great advice but if you say it at the wrong time, it won’t be heard. You may know the person well enough to pick up on their behavioural patterns. When they’re up, down or when to avoid them completely. If you have something you would like to convey, timing is key to when you mention it to them.

4. Avoid advice
We all want to help those we care about and it is only natural to try and offer advice to help them. However, sometimes it is more effective to ask them what they need. Doing this will allow the opportunity for the person to ask for help which will usually have a more positive outcome.

5. Have patience
Sometimes, suffering from depression can give a false sense of hope. If you show patience with someone that is suffering from depression this can shed the light on hope again. Supporting someone with depression can be hard and it may make you feel like you’re walking on egg shells around them. You have to remember that it is just as difficult for them, too. This is where patience can show them that they are important by showing them that you will be there for them regardless of how long they may need you.

I am by no means a psychologist and I am not claiming to be one. I’m not trying to provide medical advice or say that these tips will work however they may give you a way to help support someone or deal with this illness yourself. If you do need further assistance, there are organisations like Beyond Blue that can help.