When a loved one or friend is depressed, it can be stressful not knowing what to do to help them; however, there are things you and I can do that will help such as taking a walk with them, taking them to a doctor appointment, or just listening to what is on their mind.

In addition, do what you can to help them get a good diagnosis and treatment. Often when a person is depressed, he or she may not know that they are depressed; all they know is that they don’t have any energy or drive to do what they would normally do. One way to approach someone who is depressed is to say, “I care so much about you but it bothers me to see you suffer. Don’t be ashamed of depression. Let’s you and I find out what we can do to make you feel better.”

Also, show that you are willing to discuss depression. In other words, encourage him or her to talk about how they are feeling, without being critical or judgmental. Then, offer to go with that person to a doctor’s visit. Most importantly, if there are children involved, talk with them and give them some information on what is going on. The information doesn’t have to be a lot; just enough so they don’t worry. Perhaps you could take the children to school or other events if the depressed person is not up to it.

More than anything, be patient with the treatment process. With depression, there often are errors that are made on the way to recovery; so give it time. Depression can recede; it just takes time, treatment, and understanding. While treatment for depression continues, there are other things you can do that will help such as being a compassionate listener, providing assistance that the person needs, taking care of you so that you can stay positive, encouraging a healthy diet by cooking and eating together and learn what you can about depression from reading related articles.

Symptoms of depression are different for each person; however, there are several common symptoms that are important to know such as if a person has lost interest in work, hobbies, sex, and other pleasurable activities. Other symptoms are withdrawing from family and friends, having a negative outlook on life, complaints of aches and pain, oversleeps or sleeping less than usual, eating more or less than usual, and abusing drugs.

Keep in mind; many who suffer from depression often resist getting help. If this happens, there are several things you can do such as suggesting that they get a check-up with a doctor. Some who are depressed are more agreeable to seeing a doctor than a mental health professional. In most cases, this is a good option because a doctor can evaluate if there is anything medical causing the depression. If the doctor finds that your loved one is suffering from depression, he or she can refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist. In addition, to make the visit to the mental health specialist easier, you could offer to go with him. Before taking your loved one to a mental health provider, encourage him to make a list of symptoms that he or she can discuss with the doctor.

Other ways to help are providing whatever is needed such as researching treatment options, having realistic expectations, and leading by example. It is important to encourage your loved ones to lead healthier lives. You can set the standard by maintaining a positive outlook, eating better, exercising, and seeking help from others. It’s hard for some to believe that anyone could commit suicide but those who are depressed may not see any other way out. Depression distorts thinking and makes a person feel that the only way to get rid of the pain is to die. Know the warning signs of depression:

• Talking about suicide
• Acting in self-destructive ways
• Showing signs of hopelessness
• Getting affairs in order
• Giving away precious items
• Seeking out items to hurt themselves
• A sudden sense of calm after being depressed.

Most importantly, if you think that a friend or family member may be thinking about suicide, talk to them about your concerns as soon as possible. For someone thinking about suicide, the best thing you can do is get it out in the open. Often, they just want someone to listen to them and love them. This kind of sharing can save a life; so keep listening!

To conclude, when a loved one or friend is depressed, it can be stressful not knowing what to do to help them; however, there are things you and I can do that will help such as actively working to help them get better such as taking a walk with them, offering to help them with doctor appointments or just listening to what is on their mind. For many who are depressed, having someone listen to them is the best medicine. Talk with your doctor soon and find out more about depression and what you can do to help.

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