We might have heard of someone who committed suicide out of the blue and we kept telling our friends ” He seemed so happy and all right, and then why did he do it? “. The fact is that he was suffering silently, he was hiding his pain behind the smiles, and he didn’t get the help and support when he needed it. Depression is not always visible, but almost always, it’s noticeable. Friends and family members can play a vital role in helping them to fight their battle. Your presence and support can be pivotal for your loved one’s recovery.
When you notice someone you love, either it’s your family member, friend or colleague who is suffering from depression, you often feel helpless, not knowing how to talk about this with the person or how to help them with the situation. You might think that talking about this topic will make the person angry, feel insulted, or they may ignore your attempts. It is normal as you may not have been through depression or any mental health issues in your life. Here are some of the things you can do to help your loved one get back to his happy sense.
1. Educate Yourself About Depression & Anxiety Disorders.
Depression is a serious but treatable mental health disorder. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of this condition. Depression interferes with a person’s daily life, it drains their energy, positivity, and motivation.
You may not be able to cure the person’s condition but you can understand their situation better by educating yourself about the disorder. It will give you the confidence and patience to deal with your loved one’s situation. Read up about it on the internet, books or even call up a psychologist you know to get information.
2. Spend Time With The Person.
The best gift you can give your loved one is your time. They often feel alone, unimportant and negative so your presence could make them feel important and valuable. Moreover, it will make them feel engaged. A simple compliment or gift from you can boost their confidence. Be a good listener, listen to understand their situation and help them find solutions.
3. Motivate Them To Not Hide Their Situation From Their Close Friends or Family.
Depressed people often hide their struggle, mostly due to the stigma of depression. Encourage them to express their emotions to close friends and family. Help them understand that depression is a very common illness and there is nothing to be shy about talking about it. A person going through depression should not be shamed for still feeling depressed. Too often a close friend responds to a depressed person with ” Take it easy man! You’re still feeling down? just cheer up”. That’s when the depressed person starts thinking ” My mental health issues are a burden for my friends”. Instead, tell them things like ” You are not alone, I’m here for you’
4. Encourage The Person To See a Professional.
When they are in their right mood, approach them with empathy. Misconception about mental health and therapy has created a stigma about this topic in society, so you need to educate and make them understand the importance of getting professional help. The person may be aware that they need help but they will be reluctant to seek it because of the stigma, hence it is important to use non-stigmatizing language when you talk to them about seeking professional support.
5. Make Them Laugh
There’s a no medicine as a good as laughter. Laughter relieves stress by reducing stress hormones and increases muscle flexion. Watch funny movies or shows with them, remind them about the good moments you have shared with them, take them for short trips.