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How To Help Someone Who Is Suffering From Depression

Updated on January 6, 2015

Depression can be a hard thing for someone to have to go through. It can also be hard for the depressed person's family and friends to have to see the person they care about suffer with depression. If you know someone who is depressed, here are a few ways that you can try to help them and hopefully alleviate some of their suffering.

Listen

You can show a depressed person that you care just by listening to them and allowing them to express their feelings to you. Give the person your full undivided attention and do not be judgmental or critical of their feelings. A good way of showing someone who is depressed that you care is by simply listening to them and answering with kind words. This way you can gain more knowledge of what they are going through and offer to help them, if they accept.

Counseling

You may want to help a depressed person by offering to help them find a counselor, psychologist or other mental health therapist. Sometimes talking to a professional may give them comfort in knowing that the therapist has experience dealing with people who suffer from depression. You might want to offer to drive them to their appointment or go with them for their first appointment for support.

Hugs

Giving a depressed person a hug might temporarily lift their spirits. Sometimes a loving act of affection may help a depressed person feel a little better. Some people with depression may feel unloved or that people just do not care about them. Giving someone who is depressed a hug shows them that you care with your actions. Sometimes actions speak louder than words.

Understand

Do not expect a depressed person to do everything that they used to do. A depressed person may lose interest in hobbies or activities that they once participated in. Some people who are severely depressed may even quit their jobs. You can encourage them to get out and do things to stay busy but do not get frustrated with them if they feel they can not do those things. Depression is an illness that can cause a lack of motivation and it may cause a person to feel that they need to rest a lot. Just show that you do understand or at least are trying to understand what they are going through.

Stay In Contact

Could the person you know be feeling more depressed because they are lonely? Try visiting this person often or calling them on the phone. Send them a greeting card and tell them that you are thinking of them. Reach out to them and let them know that someone out there cares about them and wants to be involved in their life. You may want to suggest support groups so that the person can talk to other people who deal with depression and not feel so alone.

Humor

I feel that laughter can be good medicine sometimes. While it may be hard for a depressed person to become amused or entertained, it might be worth a try to see if it helps. Whether it be telling a funny joke, watching a comedy with them or talking about a funny memory, you may be able to help brighten their spirits with a few good laughs.

Dealing With Suicidal Thoughts

This is where depression becomes even more serious. If someone you know is depressed and talking about suicide, you may want to call or chat online with a suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255 is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) or a professional for treatment if you think that they are at risk. Some people with depression may say that they want to die because they feel so low and hopeless and they think that death may end their pain and suffering. Do not be harsh or critical, rather show them that you care by being positive, supportive and kind.

Whatever you do or say, always try to be kind and compassionate. Caring support from others is just one way that a person with depression might feel better. It may help to know that they have a good support system and it may be what is keeping them from harming themselves. However, even with a good support system, some people may still feel suicidal, but having no support system at all may make the thoughts and symptoms worse.










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