Gone are the days when people think of depression as ‘just a phase‘. To date, people are more aware that depression is a medical condition and must be expertly treated. With that said, if you are not an expert and you think someone from your family or friends might be suffering from it, you need to be very cautious. There are things you should not do or things you should not say to a person who is depressed. Otherwise, you might worsen the condition.
This post will give you an overview on how you can help people with depression.
Be observant of the symptoms
Remember, you are not in the position to conclude. However, a depressed person ‘sends’ signals which are quite obvious. If you suspect that someone is suffering from depression, try to observe the following:
- always feeling sad
- lack of sleep, or too much sleep
- sudden burst of emotions and usually irate and angry
- lack of sexual appetite
- lack of energy most of the time
- always saying ‘no’ to usual activities
- having a hard time focusing on things
- always speaking about death
- weight loss or weight gain
- staying away from friends and family
When you notice these symptoms, it is definitely the time to get help.
Get help the soonest possible time
Initiate a conversation and open up
If possible, tell your observations regarding the symptoms directly to the person. In addition, open up the topic of depression and suggest to see a doctor. Show your genuine concern.
Accompany them to a general physician
Seeing a doctor, most especially in similar cases, can be overwhelming. If you can (and if they want), accompany them to a doctor. We suggest to see a general physician first and see if there are other medical conditions that might affect their mental state. Plus, it would be more ideal to hear that someone needs a psychiatrist or psychologist from a doctor too.
Listen to them
It is highly important that you listen to a depressed person. It is good for everyone to know their inner thoughts, most especially if a person has suicidal thoughts. And speaking of which, what are the signs that someone is thinking about ending his or her life? We have rounded up a few to help you.
- They feel that their problems do not have a solution and that everything is hopeless
- They always talk about self-harm or death
- They look for weapons and other deadly objects
- They harm or try to destroy themselves in different ways like abusing drugs
- They often say goodbye to loved ones
- They suddenly become ‘peaceful’
What not to say to a depressed person
Since you are communicating with a person who is highly sensitive, you also have to watch your words. It can affect them in so many ways. There are statements that you should avoid telling to a depressed person and here are few of those.
- I’m sure it isn’t that bad.
- I understand (when you don’t).
- You don’t look depressed.
- It’s all in the mind.
- Choose to be happy.
- You always talk about yourself.
- I thought you are stronger than that.
Never invalidate their feelings. And don’t make them feel that what they are going through is not a major situation. To them, it is.
What you can do to further help a person suffering from depression?
Aside from letting them know that you are there for them, you can do other things to help them recover. Encourage the person to do fun activities. One of the most effective activities is to work out. Invite them to join running events or maybe you can enrol in a gym. But of course, you have to know if he or she is comfortable with your plans. If not, then you can think of other things to do which they might like.