Supporting Loved Ones with Depression
This past month the world has been rocked by the news of the suicides of two amazing celebrities. First, we heard of Kate Spade taking her life and then it was Anthony Bourdain. These two tragedies brought mental health awareness and suicide awareness back to the forefront of the news. Many celebrities like Ryan Reynolds, Demi Lovato, and Janet Jackson have been speaking openly about their struggles with anxiety and depression. It is tragic that it takes losing two famous, beloved people to spark the conversation about mental health and suicide awareness. I wanted to write about this for this month’s newsletter as I feel it is so important to take mental health problems seriously.
First, mental health does not discriminate. Depression doesn’t play favorites. Men, and women, the young and the old, and the ones who seemingly have everything, can suffer from depression. It can be genetic, meaning it runs in your family, or stressful life circumstances can cause depression as well. Depression is quite common as nearly 7 percent of American adults had at least one major depressive episode according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Chances are you know someone who is suffering right now. And you probably have not been sure as to how to reach out and be there for them. You have probably wondered what you can say to help them or what you can do.
If you have a loved one suffering from depression, there are things that you can do to support them.
Here is a list of what you can do or say for them:
- Be There. Let them know that you are here for them.
- Let’s do something. Distraction is a great way to help a depressed person. They are often in their heads and having ruminating thoughts. Get them outside, go for a walk or take an exercise class.
- Acknowledge that what they are going through is hard. Even if you don’t understand why they are depressed, and you can’t know how they are feeling, it is still helpful to validate that you know depression is real and it is hard.
- It is also okay to say nothing. Be a good listener. And hold their hand. Knowing someone cares means a lot to someone suffering from depression.
It is hard to see a loved one suffering from depression. There is help and hope for depression. Suggest that they see a counselor who can give them tools to feel better. Depression is like any other illness. You go to a doctor to get treated. They don’t have to do it alone. Depression worsens over time so getting help is crucial. And if this is a family member or spouse or child of yours, you may want to seek counseling for yourself to help you cope with this difficult situation.
As I stated earlier, there is help and hope. Depression is real and it is hard. I have helped many clients recover from depression and anxiety so I know for sure therapy, and counseling does work! If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety and depression, please don’t hesitate to call me at 561-542-2466.