How to Support People Who Suffer From Depression
Depression – characterized as a mental disorder that causes prolonged feelings of sadness and disinterest – is slowly becoming more common. Depression is the second most common mental illness in the United States (behind anxiety), affecting nearly 7 percent of adults. Worldwide, it affects about 300 million people, and estimates say 15 percent of adults will experience depression at some point in their lives.
Depression can be treated through various methods, including therapy. Though it is truly up to the person who is suffering from depression to take the steps for treatment, it always helps to have a support system.
If you know someone who is suffering from depression, there are ways for you to support them. First, talk to them. Tell them you have noticed their depressed behavior and that you are there to support them. And above all else, listen to them. Listen to how they describe their feelings, and do not offer any judgments. Listening is one of the most important and effective ways of supporting someone with depression.
Next, encourage them to seek treatment. Unfortunately, most people who suffer from depression go untreated. In fact, according to Mental Health America, only about 35 percent of people with severe depression actually end up seeing a mental health professional. People with depression often do not seek treatment because doing so can be an intimidating task; they may believe their situation is too hopeless, or they may just not have the will power to physically go to a professional. Regardless of the reason, people with depression need treatment in order to effectively overcome the disorder.
If you have suggested treatment to the person with depression, and they seem hesitant, offer to go with them or help them to set up an appointment. Offering your help and support can make treatment seem a little less daunting.
Lastly, support them through their treatment. Make sure they are continually seeing a mental health professional (oftentimes, a single visit is not enough), and support them with the treatment plans they are given. It also can help to encourage them to live a healthy lifestyle and to not isolate themselves.
Depression is a serious disease that afflicts millions of people each year. Though the person suffering from the disorder is really the only person in control over treating their illness, you can still support them. With your help and support, you can help them deal with their depressed feelings and overcome their symptoms.