Dealing with depression can be a very lonely experience. A lot of people do not even know why they are depressed. Although there are a number of self-help resources and tried and true strategies for overcoming this difficult state of mind, it can be hard to find your way out of a depressed cycle on your own. If you have a loved one or friend who suffers from this issue, it can be helpful to know how to help someone with depression.
It is first important to note that tending to your own mental health is always going to be your top priority. It can be overwhelming to devote too much of your time trying to assist someone who needs more help than you can feasibly give. Always know when to seek outside help and when to start referring people to other resources.
The most important thing to do in these instances is to validate what a person is feeling. It is never a good idea to tell someone that they have no reason or right to feel as they do. The underlying causes of this problem can be emotional, mental or physical in nature. At the end of the day, you never know exactly why an individual is feeling down.
Another helpful step that you can take is to listen. This is far better than sharing your own ideas on how to live better, feel better, and be more positive and proactive. More often than not, people simply need others to just hear them out.
Having someone listen can also be very therapeutic. Many times, people are not looking for advice. They simply want a sympathetic ear. More important than this, however, is being able to talk complex issues through, particularly out loud. Once people have talked about their problems, the magnitude of their troubles is often greatly diminished.
Suggest a few activities that the two of you can get out and do together. Depression can make people want to stay inside and away from the rest of the active world. Go see a movie, go rollerskating, swimming, or to the gym. Bright lights, busy conversations and other forms of stimulation can sometimes be surprisingly uplifting.
Try to keep this person company until he or she has found a good, long-term solution to the problem. Depressed people who become too lonely and isolated may be in danger of harming themselves. Sticking close to friends who are going through tough times is important for making sure that they are okay to hold up alone when they finally have to. When you invest yourself like this, you can often count on the very same friends that you've helped through their depression to stay by your side when troubles arise on your end.
Collect the contact information of mental health and social service organizations that can offer additional and continued support. Remember, the job of helping someone who is frequently or chronically depressed is not your own. There will eventually come a time when the guidance and advice of knowledgeable mental health professionals will prove essential for achieving long-term mood balance, healing, and overall wellness.