Depression is very common, and when it affects your own loved ones there are many ways to help.
Depression affects over 350 million people worldwide and causes great suffering. It is profoundly isolating, and even if your loved one does not admit it, he or she will need your support to get better. Here are the 10 things you can do if you want to help a family member suffering from depression …
Show compassion instead of pity.
Be there for them, but don’t surrender to emotional blackmail or let yourself be sucked into “their world.”
Respond to their complaints in a positive way: “There is a solution and we’ll find it together”.
Show your love: take your loved one by the hand, give them a hug, look into their eyes and give them a smile. These gestures are more meaningful than words.
If it’s your spouse who is depressed, explain to your kids that it’s not their fault, that they’re just going through some tough times and that depression is an illness that can be healed but it takes time.
Gather resources for your loved one and pass them along — contact information for doctors and therapists, books or articles to read, support groups.
Do not let your loved one disconnect and become imprisoned in their solitude. Distract them: take them out for a walk, to see other people or go shopping. This will allow them to interact with people.
Encourage every small initiative; praise and congratulate them for every small step they take.
Keep your cool and don’t excuse fits of rage or poor behavior — depression doesn’t excuse everything.
Encourage them to take care of their appearance.
Avoid saying things that might make them feel powerless, such as: “You’ve got every reason to be happy!” or “You think the world revolves around you!”
Don’t let a depressive person exhaust you. Learn how to clear your head and recharge your batteries. Don’t feel guilty if you need a break.
Pray the Lord to give you strength to do your part and ask Him to heal your suffering loved one.