9 Ways to Help Someone with Depression
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In the article, “9 Ways to Help a Friend or Family Member With Depression,” Therese J. Borchard discusses some ideas on how to help someone with depression. Borchard talks about the struggles of trying to understand and help someone with depression. Sometimes depression seems to come out of nowhere and the person you knew as fun and happy, now looks sad all the time. Or a friend continues to make excuses as to why she can’t meet you for coffee or a dinner. Everyone experiences depression differently, there are things that you can do to generally help anyone with depression. She explains her ideas below.
1. Educate Yourself
Some signs of depression include:
2. Ask lots of questions.
Get your friend or loved one to talk. Asking question can start the conversation but also show support.
3. Inform Your Loved One
Sometimes having general discussions can help. Psychiatrists and clinicians are also helpful, but sometimes someone close can help you to see your personal triggers, the medicial basis for depression, or just explain it in easy to understand terms.
4. Talk About Stress
There is a connection between stress and depression. There are many studies that cite the negative effect stress has on the body. Stress can cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, heart issues, altered hormonal levels, imbalances in neurotransmitters, and cause a release of cortisol. Discuss the current level of stress and suggest some positive ways to cope.
5. Give Support
Borchard indicates that, “Research shows that support groups aid the recovery of persons struggling with depression and decrease chances of relapse. The New England Journal of Medicine published a study in December 2001 in which 158 women with metastatic breast cancer were assigned to a supportive-expressive therapy. These women showed greater improvement in psychological symptoms and reported less pain than the women with breast cancer who were assigned to the control group with no supportive therapy.”
Just being available can be helpful. Time on the phone or face to face can be very helpful. Human touch such as simple as a hug or kiss can help a person with depression feel better.
6. Focus On The Strengths
When someone has depression, they find it difficult to see positives around them or inside them. Identifying your loved one's strengths can help them to see the situation in a better light.
7. Use Laughter
According to Borchard, “As I mentioned in my post “10 Things I Do Every Day to Beat Depression,” research says that laughing is one of the best things we can do for our health. Humor can help us heal from a number of illnesses.” Laughter is a wonderful healer. We all feel happier after laughing. Watch a comedy with your friend, tell a joke, or anything that can cause laughter and fun.
8. Give Hope
Borchard remembers that, “If I had to name one thing a person (or persons) said to me when I was severely depressed that made me feel better, it would be this: “You won’t always feel this way.” It is a simple statement of truth that holds the most powerful healing element of all: hope. As a friend or family member, your hardest job is to get your friend or brother or dad or sister to have hope again: to believe that he or she will get better. Once his or her heart is there, his or her mind and body will follow shortly.”
9. Just be There to Listen
Having someone to count on to actively listen is a blessing. Sometimes when we are eager to help, we forget to just listen. Taking the time to listen to your friend or loved one is a wonderful gift that can prove to be helpful in decreasing the depressive symptoms.
- Kim B.
I am someone who really desires to be intimately educated about whatever I’m doing. I want to learn everything there is to know about a given topic, so if I am teaching on a subject, I want to know more then the pupils in the class. I simply do not want to be a fool, and I especially don't want to be the one that pretends to know more than they really do.
My story about learning softball game strategies correlates with my learning about depression. Just as I had to immerse myself in the culture of softball, I had to learn as much about depression as I possibly could, as quickly as I could. I did not desire to be an expert, but I at least wanted to be a knowledgeable guy who could have an intelligent conversation on the subject.
When my oldest daughter began to participate in competitive fast pitch softball, and I was asked to help coach. Afterall, I had played baseball throughout my childhood and on through high school, so I believed that I had some basic understanding of the game. However for those of you who are less informed, like I was, softball is completely different from baseball when you take away the bat, the ball, and the glove.
I thought that it would be exactly the same as baseball. I was very wrong. The tactics, the strategy, the mentality and motivation of the players were all different from that of a baseball player and the game of baseball. It wasn’t just because they were girls either.
Now, I am a proud person, but I feel as though I am able to put aside my pride and admit when I am wrong. Of course, I am sure that my wife would disagree with that comment. In this case, she was able to commend me for coming to grips with reality. My desire to spend time with my daughter in a sport that she loved enabled me to quickly become humble and move on.
The realization that I wasn’t one of the smartest people in the room motivated me as well, and it required me to learn more about softball. It required me to become a master student of the game quite rapidly.
With the Internet as my library, I began my research and study of the game of softball. I learned practice techniques and drills. I learned Game day strategy and tactics. I learned how to be a better coach for girls and young women. I learned to appreciate the sacrifices of those who went before me. I learned to cherish the precious moments with my daughter and the other young ladies on the team. I learned to love the sport and the game of softball. More over, I loved my team.
Knowledge is power. With the resources available today, there is no reason under the sun why we should not harness the power of knowledge, and share with those around us.
Borchard, T. (n.d.). 9 Ways to Help a Friend or Family Member With Depression. Retrieved December 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/07/16/9-ways-to-help-a-friend-or-family-member-with-depression/