If You Think a Loved One May Have Depression

If you know someone who is depressed, it affects you too. The most important thing you can do is to help your friend or relative get a diagnosis and treatment. You may need to make an appointment and go with him or her to see the doctor. Encourage your loved one to stay in treatment or to seek different treatment options if no improvement occurs after 6 to 8 weeks.

To help your friend or relative:

  • Offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement.
  • Talk to him or her, and listen carefully.
  • Never dismiss feelings, but point out realities and offer hope.
  • Never ignore comments about suicide and report them to your loved one’s therapist or doctor.
  • Invite your loved one out for walks, outings, and other activities.
  • Keep trying if he or she declines, but don’t push him or her to take on too much too soon.
  • Provide assistance in getting to doctors’ appointments.
  • Remind your loved one that with time and treatment, the depression will lift.

Caring for someone with depression is not easy. Someone with depression may need constant support for a long period of time. Make sure you leave time for yourself and your own needs. If you feel you need additional support, there are support groups for caregivers too.

U.S. Departement of Health and Human Services, N. i. (2017). Depression, What you need to know (NIH Publication No. 15-3561). Bethesda : MD: U.S. Goverment Printing Office.

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