If someone close to you seems depressed and out of sorts you will naturally be concerned and will want to help. But the question is how to help a person with depression – depressed individuals may refuse to accept that they have a problem, or they may reject all offers of help, preferring to isolate themselves from others.
Recognize the signs
To understand how to help a person with depression, you firstly need to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression. If the person seems apathetic, low, has feelings of guilt, doesn’t enjoy activities that they did earlier, is abusing alcohol or other substances, is irritable and fatigued these could also be signs of depression.
So firstly educate yourself about the symptoms of depression and possible treatment protocols.
Then, see if that person cannot seem to shake off these symptoms and seems persistently depressed.
Be there for them and try to understand
To know how to help a person with depression, you need to be there for them and to love them unconditionally. If they want to talk, offer a sympathetic ear. Try to boost their spirits.
Try to put yourself in the depressed person’s place and try to understand why they are doing what they are.
If they seem to keep to themselves, and don’t seem to be interested in meeting others, doing stuff around the house or even attending to their own grooming and hygiene, then understand why they are doing this.
It isn’t because they are lazy or want to shirk their responsibility. And if they seem sullen and uncommunicative, don’t take it personally. They are ill and need help.
Find out how to help a person with depression by getting information about treatment protocols: therapy, medication etc. Suggest therapy, encourage involvement with a recovery group, and offer to set up appointment with a health care provider so that a preliminary diagnosis can be made. However, remember not to be accusatory or combative, but to be gentle and empathetic while offering to help.
Create a low stress, supportive environment
Try to help the person get better by offering emotional as well as logistical support. Try to reduce their stress and help them stick to their treatment.
Take care of yourself
It isn’t enough to know how to help a person with depression. You have to take care of yourself too. Being with a depressed person can be contagious and you may find it taking a toll on you.