How To Help Someone With Depression
Here are a few tips to help a friend or family member who is suffering from depression:
Accept their depressive symptoms and support them without trying to "fix" them
Although this might sound counter-intuitive, a person suffering from depression needs support, not advice that can sound critical or judgmental. Remember, a person who is depressed already has a strong self-critical voice and negative self-beliefs. Validation of how they are feeling (e.g., "You feel anxious and a sense of dread that this depression is never going to get better" or "It is so difficult for you to get out of bed every morning") and simply being there for them, ensuring they are not isolating themselves is the most supportive action you can do for them.
Help them set up a daily regular routine
Tasks that might seem so simple might appear insurmountable for someone who is severely depressed (e.g., getting out of bed, making the bed, getting ready, cooking, cleaning, answering calls/emails). Offer practical help for every day tasks. Having a daily routine with purposeful tasks (especially if the person does not hold a regular job) is important.
Increase their circle of support
Ensure that they are taking steps to reach out for help, which includes seeking treatment. There are several psychotherapy treatment options that are effective, including individual and group therapy.
Support healthy lifestyle changes such as eating nutritional food and regular exercise, for example, by being their work-out buddy.
Self-care for yourself
It is not easy supporting a friend or family member who is suffering from depression. It is important that you don't feel responsible for their recovery. Ensure your own self-care - you cannot pour from an empty cup.