How you can help a loved one with depression

While we all may feel a change in mood from time to time, depression is something different. How do you know someone is depressed? Here are a few of the signs to look for:

  • Losing interest in the usual activities that once brought joy
  • Being withdrawn from family, friends, and social interactions
  • Oversleeping or getting too little sleep
  • Eating more or less than usual, or gaining or losing weight
  • Expressing a bleak or negative outlook on life

If someone in your life is depressed, it’s crucial that they recognize depression is a treatable condition that requires medical care. It’s also important for them to know you care for them and want to support them.

Here are some ways you can support a loved one with depression:

  • Stay in touch regularly. People experiencing depression can become isolated easily, as they feel reaching out may “bother” others.
  • Help them establish routines that include exercise, healthy eating, and ample amounts of sleep.
  • Encourage activities with a sense of accomplishment, reward, and pleasure.
  • Read about depression from trusted blogs and books.
  • Familiarize yourself with local services that can provide help, and be ready to offer the resources you’ve found.

Throughout all of this, remember it’s important to take care of yourself as well!
Supporting a loved one with depression is tough, and can take a lot out of you, so do what you can -- but don’t neglect self-care.

Seeking out a support network can help you -- and your loved one with depression -- to cope.  Consider distributing the support among a network of several people, to guide everyone toward a balanced and healthy life.

Click here for helpful resources to help someone in your life with depression.

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