What Can You Do To Help A Loved One Struggling With Depression?
We all get stages in our life where we feel a bit low. These troughs can be triggered by a number of factors: relationship problems, feeling stuck in a job we don’t like, not having enough time for relaxation and all kinds of other reasons. Such periods of low mood generally pass in time but there can be a danger that genuine clinical depression can develop and go undiagnosed.
. Because depression is such a serious condition, with the very real risk of self-harm and suicide if left untreated, there is a great deal of mental health support on offer for sufferers. If you think someone you know has depression here are some things you can do to help.
- Share The Load: One of the key symptoms of depression is a profound sense of isolation, which can lead the sufferer to withdraw from people, making them feel more isolated which feeds their feelings of anxiety and depression. Try and talk to them, and let them know you care about what is happening to them. Be as supportive as you can, and listen to what they are saying. Just being able to communicate how they feel to another person can be a huge help.
- Keep Them Active: People suffering with depression often find their energy levels sapped, so the thought of doing something as simple as getting dressed can seem an exhausting ordeal. However, mental health support professionals know that exercise increases endorphin levels in the brain, which leads to an uplift in mood. Don’t send them on a route march, but try and encourage them to go for a gentle walk, a swim or perhaps do something like yoga. Again, offer to go with them to keep them motivated.
- Seek Professional Help: This may seem obvious, but encouraging them to talk to a professional will help immeasurably. The first step should be to see their GP, who can diagnose the severity of the depression and begin treatment. This may include referral for counseling and other psychological therapies, and prescription of anti-depressants for severe cases. There is a wide range of mental health support out there, from cognitive behaviour therapy to alternative methods such as arts therapies and they are all worth exploring.
If you’re worried that you or someone you care about is suffering from depression then it’s important to seek help now. A charity that specializes in mental health support can be a good place to start. Beating depression isn’t easy, but by taking it one step at a time it can be overcome.
For more information go to: http://www.unitedresponse.org.uk/what-we-do/mental-health/