Supporting someone with depression.
These notes have been put together (by myself and some of my clients) to give you some ideas of the reality of supporting someone with depression. It is not an exhaustive list and there are many books and websites that you can visit to understand more of what depression is. I think one important thing to remember is that depression is different for everyone and there is no one stop shop for a solution.
What’s it’s like to support someone with depression.
- You may feel frustrated.
- You may feel they are not helping themselves.
- You may feel that are not listening or taking any advice.
- You may feel angry at the person for not getting better.
- You may not know how to approach the person or even what to say.
- You may feel uncertain, worried or afraid of how the person will respond to what you say.
All these feelings are normal. It is not easy to support a person with depression. It takes time. It takes effort. However, taking time to talk, to meet up, to send that text or that email really do make a difference even if it doesn’t appear to on the surface. The support you give helps that person to know they are not alone, that they really are loved and accepted as they are. That is incredibly valuable.
A little advice:
Depression can be incredibly tiring. If you spend time with someone with depression, you may feel tired too. Be aware of your own boundaries i.e. don’t take on too much and make sure you look after yourself too. It is okay to say, ‘Sorry, I can’t come round today but can we meet next week’.
A few do’s and don’ts
First the Do’s!
1. Do be encouraging.
2. Do say ‘Well done’ if they have achieved one of their goals e.g. taking antidepressants or gone for a walk when they found it difficult. Appreciate that you know it’s not easy but they are trying.
3. Do send a short text saying, ‘Hi!’
4. Do be patient; support is often needed long term.
5. Do be yourself and talk about everyday life.
And a few Don’ts
1. Don’t ignore the person if you see them.
2. Don’t be angry with them for not getting better.
3. Don’t say, ‘You could choose to be better’
4. Don’t always talk about depression.
5. Don’t judge the person; they really are doing their best.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiCrniLQGYc (Video about Depression by WHO)
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