How to support someone living with depression

Mental health has been a stigmatised topic in the UK for a long time. The tides are shifting, though, as awareness grows of the various ways in which mental health conditions can affect individual lives.

Depression is on of the more common forms of mental illness, and a condition suffered by roughly 3% of people in the UK. Depression can take many forms, depending on the specific symptoms and situations of those that suffer it.

You may be friends with someone who has depression, or has recently been diagnosed, and you may be wondering what you can do to help. Here are some ways in which you can approach what is often a difficult subject for many friends and family members, and tangible ways you can help someone in need.

Being there

For many, the simple act of being there can be a radical act of kindness. It is common for people with depression to attempt to withdraw from their social circle, whether due to feelings of low self-esteem or the belief that they are a burden.

Actively reaching out to those with depression can make a world of difference, keeping avenues of contact open and ensuring they do not isolate themselves with negative thinking.

Often, depression can result from a traumatic or negative experience. Helping to talk your loved one through this experience can help them with any short-term difficulties they may be having. For example, your friend may be in the process of making a military negligence claim, a process which can be stressful and intense – especially for those suffering poor mental health. Simply being there as a friendly ear can be enough to lift the clouds for them a little.

Support in accessing resources

Broaching the subject of support for mental health conditions can be difficult; in many cases, those with poor mental health may be less inclined to reach out as a result of low self-worth or low energy levels. The same is true for depression. Pushing the subject can often have a detrimental effect, but helping them come to the decision that they need additional support by themselves can be effective.

In the event that they would like to seek additional help, you can help by co-ordinating that help alongside them. Where they may have a day of low energy and high anxiety, you can get the ball rolling with pro-active calls to mental health charities and organisations on their behalf.

Learn more about depression

In order to have an active role in your loved one’s recovery and management of their condition, you will need to understand more about their condition. Depression is a relatively vague diagnosis that can encompass a number of different symptoms and causes.

In general, depression describes a lowness of mood and ‘energy’, which can get in the way of even the simplest of tasks. Even knowing this can help you better understand your friend or family member, and help you to help them.