How Can You Support Someone with Depression?
It’s is a difficult thing to overcome, and if somebody that you know is suffering with depression, it’s essential that they are supported through it. Not only should they be supported by their friends and family, but they should also find support in the right places. There are resources out there to help people through this difficult time, and knowing how to help can make a difference.
BE THERE FOR THEM
When somebody is suffering with depression, it is easy for them to feel isolated and cut off from other people. Even if they aren’t alone, the feeling of loneliness can still be present. When this happens, they will need to be supported and will need somebody to demonstrate that they are there for them.
When a person feels like this, ‘being there’ for them isn’t forcibly voicing your opinion on their feelings or what they should do about it. In fact, the best thing that you can do is simply listen to what they have to say. Unless you have ever felt like that yourself, it is unlikely that you can fully understand the level of emotion that they will describe to you, but letting them know that you’re there to listen to them when it comes to their feelings can act as a great comforter.
Your role as a listener means that you’re not there to judge them or show a lack of understanding: you’re there to accept them as they are. The last thing a person with depression needs is to be told to cheer up.
STAY IN TOUCH
When you can’t be there for them in person, make sure that you keep in regular contact with them. The feelings of isolation can be overwhelming for a person who is suffering from depression, especially when they are alone. Speaking to them on the phone or by text can make a big difference, because it will help to combat these feelings of loneliness.
When you speak to them remotely, make the effort to arrange activities out of the home, because those who are feeling depressed may find it difficult to leave the house. Inviting them out for a coffee or something to eat can help to improve their outlook and break the cycle of being indoors.
KNOW WHAT HELPS
Combating depression can be a difficult thing to do, but picking up some healthy habits can have a positive effect on a person’s mental outlook. Depression can leave a person feeling low in energy, which results in a lack of physical activity, but the physical effects of exercise can help to improve a person’s mental state. After exercise, we feel more energised, and feel-good neurotransmitters are released into the brain, which can help a person feel positive.
Similarly, a balanced diet can help to give the body the necessary nutrients it needs for a person to feel uplifted. Superfoods such as chickpeas are rich in tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin – the feel-good neurotransmitter.
FIND THE RIGHT SUPPORT
There are plenty of support resources in place for people who are suffering from depression, and expert advice can go a long way. Knowing where the support is available and helping the person to find the right service could help them to overcome – or at least learn how to cope with – their depressive disorder.
- University councillors are on hand to talk through any problems and issues. They are trained to listen and provide support, and can be helpful to people suffering from depression.
- Depression support groups bring people together who have experienced similar feelings. This can help to combat the feelings of isolation that come with the disorder.
- Psychological therapy organisations are the place to go if the person feels like they need to speak to a medical professional. They can utilise a range of cognitive techniques to help them to work through their depression.
DEPRESSION CAN IMPACT STUDENTS
We carried out a study which showed that 71% of students have suffered from some form of mental illness, and knowing how to offer help and support can make a real difference. Take a look at our blog to find the latest advice for students – we cover everything from financial management to combating stress.