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How to Help Someone with Depression: Do's and Don'ts

Depression is a mental health condition that affects millions of people. The depressed person feels and appears to be sad and hopeless, and often withdraws from others and loses interest in daily activities. This article will provide you knowledge of How to Help Someone with Depression.

We all feel down and low at some points in our life. Various challenges, incidents and troubles tend to get us slightly depressed from time to time. But when this sadness gets converted into deep depression and emptiness and starts to interrupt someone's daily routine and normal activities then the condition becomes quite critical. The sufferer stops taking pleasure in any of the activities and remains exhausted and dull all the time.

If we see clinically, depression not only disturbs a human being’s mental state but also hampers the sufferer’s physical health. Their appearance, overall academic performance, social behavior and the ability to manage with everyday decisions and pressures become problematic.

Helping Someone with Depression

If you are to try to help your family member or friend to crawl their way out of depression, it is important to educate yourself on depression. Depression could be a very sensitive state of mind and any kind of wrong step may hurt the sufferer hugely. Hence, prior to helping a depressed individual, you should know the ways and strategies you can employ to help them.

How to Help Someone with Depression

  • Recognize the problem: If any of your friends or family members starts to live secluded, low life, then ensure to check for the other signs of depressions. Loss of appetite, sleep, energy and significant mood swings and change in behavior may be alarming signs of depression. Talk with them, ask them to share their feelings and then if you think that they may be suffering from depression, ask them to take help. Help them to seek treatment. (See hereGetting Help with Depression)
  • Provide emotional support: Be consistent and supportive. Do not try to be pushy or dominating. You can actually repel a depressed person by being too hard. Instead, you need to go slow and steady. First try to come into their small circle of confidence so that they start trusting you and sharing their feelings with you. Support their feelings and show concern and then offer your help.
  • Offer physical support: Participate with the depressed individual in their various physical activities. These activities may include taking a walk with them, going out with them, watching a movie, shopping and more.
  • Be focused: A truly depressed individual may force you to feel disheartened as well. Also, the chances of experiencing “contagious depression” may develop. Hence, while helping your friend or family member to come out of depressed state of mind, you need to be highly focused and determined.
  • Do not confront the feelings: Naturally, the depressed human being will share some very irrational feeling with you, when you will sit and talk with them. Do not try to be objective to such feelings. Rather than telling them how unreasonable their logics are, you should comfort them and show concern and ask for a way to help them.
  • Be determined: Many a time, it will happen that your well-meaning advice and reassurance will be repelled with resentment and confrontation. This is the time when you have to be determined. Do not feel dejected and frustrated with your loved one’s cynicism because that is just the cruel symptom of the disorder. In fact, prepare yourself and be ready for such pessimism.
  • Ask for support from family and friends: You may also contact the family members, friends as well as other caregivers and ask them to collectively help the sufferer to come out of depression. Talk to them and gain more information about the likes and dislikes of the sufferer, so that you may do things and perform activities that he will enjoy and take pleasure in. However, while doing this exercise, you need to ensure that you contact reliable people only as if they tend to get judgmental about the whole things, then things may go wrong.
  • Monitor their suicidal threats: Often, depressed individuals would express their feelings about not wishing to love more or end their life. You have to take these threats very sincerely, even if they come feebly. Make sure that you always succeed in talking them out of the idea of attempting suicide. Tell them politely how much they mean to you and their loved ones. This will make them feel worthy and much better. On the other hand, keep them in safe environment so that even if their depression gets triggered, they should not be able to commit suicide.
  • Maintain contact: Do not let the sufferer get lost in his or her own world. Be with them all the time. If you cannot be with them then at least, try to be in constant touch by calling them at regular intervals. If you are going away then keep sending messages and mails regularly to let them feel that you care about them. Feeling of being loved, will keep them in the right frame of mind.
  • Taking help does not mean lack of moral character: You have to make the sufferer believe that getting diagnosed and seeking help for their depression is actually a sign of courage and determination. Let them know that they have taken a big step and are all set to get out of their depressed state of mind.
Helping a person who is going through the critical phase of depression can be an extremely demanding task. It may happens a lot of times that you would think you have talked a person out of his or her depressing thoughts and next day you find him or her in the same state of mind, once again.

Also, to show them constantly that you are there for them and you care for them can be very grueling. It may demand a lot of from you at both physical and mental levels. Being patient all the time is another thing that you must practice. Any sort of eagerness or any action of dominance may turn things into something truly devastating like suicidal attempts.

What Not To Do When Helping Someone with Depression

We all need to remember that depression is not a sign of weakness or something that can be simply “snapped out of”. When dealing with a loved one who is struggling with depression, it is important to avoid doing anything that might further contribute to their feelings of hopelessness or helplessness. Here are some things to avoid when helping someone with depression:
  • Trying to fix their problems or “cheer them up”
  • Telling them to “snap out of it” or “just be happy”
  • Isolating them or pushing them away
  • Ignoring their feelings or making light of their condition
Instead, try to be supportive and understanding. Listen to what they have to say and offer your love and encouragement. Help them to find professional help if they are struggling to cope. Most importantly, don’t give up on them – they need your patience, love, and understanding more than ever during this difficult time.

Helping someone with depression can be difficult, especially when you're unsure of the best way to go about it. In some cases, your friend or family member will just need someone to talk to, and spending time together will go a long way in relieving the pain, suffering, and anxiety that can accompany depression. However,

If the depression is severe, you may need to be more proactive in your attempts to Help Someone with Depression

There are a number of different treatment options for depression, so it's important to try a few techniques. You will find out what the person you are caring for responds to and hopefully the symptoms of depression will gradually subside.

Changing Behavior – A Key to Helping Someone with Depression

Making changes in a person's lifestyle, particularly in relation to diet and exercise, can make a difference in dealing with depression. If you're helping someone with depression who has a tendency to sleep many hours a day or refuse to get up from the couch, regular exercise can help.

You can help her depression by going for regular walks around the neighborhood with your boyfriend. Join a team sport or suggest an exercise or yoga class. When you show that you're willing to do these things with that person, you instill confidence in them, and that person is less likely to see the exercise as a chore.

Diet is also an important way to help someone with depression. Find out what you can do to stop a depressed person from drinking. This will only increase the symptoms of depression and lead to other potential problems. It's also a good idea to avoid caffeine and foods high in processed additives and preservatives.

Foods high in antioxidants are especially beneficial for someone struggling with or recovering from depression. Stick to the fruit, vegetable, nut and protein sources that are good for the mind and body. Start cooking with your friend who is suffering from depression. It's a great way to help him/her to get over their depression symptoms.

Counseling / Psychotherapy – A means of helping someone with depression

Even with supportive friends and family members like you, people who are depressed can often benefit greatly from professional therapy and counseling. Psychotherapy can identify the problems in a person's life that might be causing the depression. A therapist can make recommendations for managing or avoiding the situations that cause depression.

This is an important step in helping someone with depression because it reveals the negative patterns and habits that contribute to the illness and make things far worse than they need to be. Individual therapy sessions, as well as group therapy and support programs, can aid in healing and recovery and in learning how to avoid the things that lead to depression.

Natural Remedies for Depression  Helping Someone with Depression

Rushing on drugs and medication is not always advisable when helping someone with depression. Instead, you can consider natural remedies that have been shown to help people suffering from this condition.

For example, vitamin D can be incredibly helpful, and a lot of vitamin D can be found through the sun. Sunlight provides a natural serotonin flush, which is known to elevate mood and reduce the symptoms that can lead to depression. Spend some time outdoors with someone suffering from depression. A daily dose of sunlight can have a surprisingly positive effect.

Meditation can also help. Introduce a positive visualization when helping someone with depression. The Journal of the American Medical Association found that meditation can be as effective as prescription medication in treating depression. If you are new to meditation alone, find someone who can help your friend learn meditation practices that will help with depression and all of its uncomfortable symptoms.

Treatment Centers ~ Helping someone with depression

Inpatient care may become necessary when nothing else works. When you're helping someone with depression, you can get to a point where you're overwhelmed and the person you're helping is desperate. In some cases, a depressed person needs to withdraw from life's daily tasks, responsibilities, and challenges. She needs a quiet place where she can really focus on her care and healing. Inpatient depression treatment centers can be a valuable tool in giving loved ones the help they need.


Anyone who helps someone with depression is doing a good job. When a person you care for needs help, it's natural to want to do whatever it takes to make things a little better. The person in your life who is depressed is counting on family and friends to hear their cry for help. People struggling with depression need an advocate to help them determine the best course of action for their recovery.

Discuss different treatment options; be it an individual consultation, serious changes in behavior or inpatient treatment. Talking about depression is the first step; let your friend or family member know that you are committed to supporting them during this difficult time.


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