It can be challenging to watch a friend, coworker, or family member suffer from depression, and it is important to be able to offer support in a beneficial way. Here are a few tips for promoting a safe, comfortable, and encouraging conversation with a loved one going through a difficult time.
Create a Safe Space
Create an environment that promotes minimal stress and offers a routine. Help create a daily schedule, cook meals, organize, clean, run errands, or make time for physical activity. Although an individual cannot fix depression, support can mean the world to someone who is suffering.
Be a nonjudgmental and trustworthy friend for someone who is struggling. Remind a loved one of where to find a safe and non-threatening place to have a conversation. Once ready, consider carefully listening and avoid giving advice or opinions.
Offer to Help Find Support
Before providing support to someone suffering from depression, ask if they are open to receiving professional advice and resources. If they are open to support, locate a helpful organization for further guidance. Many organizations, such as The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), offer support groups, counseling, and resources. Visit https://www.nami.org/home for additional information.
Take time to research topics that are unfamiliar. If depression is a foreign territory, investigate the signs, symptoms, and treatments from reliable resources. Check out https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/index.shtml for basic education on this condition.
Extend the Invitation
Although someone suffering from depression may not want to be social, it is important to keep extending an invitation. Consider offering to meet for coffee, a movie night, dinner, or any other low-key activity that wouldn’t inflict stress. If it is clear an individual does not want to be bothered with invitations, connect by periodically checking in.
Remember to be patient and kind to a loved one suffering from depression. Continue to offer consistent support, but remember everyone’s journey is different – time, patience, and love can be healing!
For additional resources, visit https://www.ruok.org.au/how-to-ask.
Did You Know? According to the CDC, depression affects 20-25% of Americans 18 years old and up. Maintain strong social connections to help decrease social isolation which may lead to depression.