Depression occurs in many people. According to the Trimbos Institute, a quarter of Dutch adults (18-75 years old) suffer from depression. This is most common in women between the ages of 18 and 34. How can you help someone close to you who is dealing with depression?
GGZ describes depression as follows: “Depression is a name for a mood disorder that is characterized by a loss of zest for life or severe depression. In everyday parlance, the term ‘depressed’ is used to describe a variety of states of mind, ranging from a short dip to severe depression.”
8 ways to help your loved one with depression
It differs per person how someone should be helped, but it is especially important to be aware. It often happens that a family member or acquaintance is the first to realize that someone needs help. They can then encourage them to seek help. But how else can you help someone. Here are eight ways to be there for our loved one.
1. Take the time to talk about depression
It takes a lot of someone to admit that they need help. If you think someone needs help, it doesn’t hurt to bring the subject to the table yourself. In addition, it is not necessarily necessary to talk about mental health, but it can be as simple as texting them to ask how they are doing or inviting them to do something together.
2. Ask the important question
Many of us don’t know what to do when we think someone is going through a tough time. While it is not at all as difficult as we may think. Start easy, ask how they are! Listen what they have to say.
They may not be completely open with you at first, but it’s a start. Let them express their feelings openly and don’t take it personally.
3. Choose words to reassure, not direct
When you’re not doing so well mentally, some comments from others can be very irritating. “Try to stay calm.” ‘Stay calm.’ We know you are trying to help, but unfortunately it is not that easy. So let someone know that you are there for them.
4. Encourage them to seek help
If you know someone who you think may be showing symptoms of depression or other mental health problems, advise them to seek help. In such situations it can be very nice to talk to someone about it. However, you have to remember that it can be difficult for some to talk openly about it with a professional. Therefore, also offer to go with them.
5. Don’t disappear
When someone goes through something like this, it’s especially important that you don’t disappear from their life. This can make them feel ashamed of you. Let them know that you are there for them. This doesn’t have to be anything big, send them an app now and then or offer to come by.
6. Go outside
To get people with depression back on their feet, even the smallest things like going outside with them. It is nice for them to see something different than the four bedroom walls or the refrigerator. Take them outside and enjoy nature together.
7. Be patient
It can happen that someone with depression becomes irritable and may feel misunderstood. You may have to be patient for a while. There are good days and sometimes less good days, but in the end they really like that you are there for them and don’t want to lecture them. Remember this!
8. Take care of yourself too
Supporting someone else in such a situation can sometimes be stressful. It is therefore important that you also focus on your own health. This can also help you further to help the other person.
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