1. Depression is a medical condition-encourage them to get help. If someone has diabetes, there is no shame in getting medical help. So it is with depression. Depression is a result of an imbalance in the system. For example, if their thyroid level is off or if there is a hormonal imbalance, it can cause the exact same symptoms as depression. Professionals can provide additional information on their condition.
2. Encourage them to get out of the house. This can be as simple as checking the mail in the mailbox or taking the loved one for a drive. Be complimentary for the small things they are able to do.
3. How is their sense of humor? Laughter is great medicine. If those who are depressed are open to some good humor, use it! Studies have proven when we laugh it produces endorphins in our bodies, which help us feel good. Be sensitive if they are not open to humor and move on to something else.
4. Encourage them to move their body. Our bodies are made to move. Brisk walking can help increase the serotonin levels in the system, which can help elevate the mood. When people are depressed, they may not have motivation to exercise. However, you can invite them to go on a walk with you. This might encourage them to open up and talk.
5. Get connected with support groups. National Alliance on Mental Health www.nami.org is an organization that helps to raise awareness on mental health issues and learn what to do about it. Resources are available for various support groups. There are support groups for loved ones of the depressed individual and for those who are depressed. It is important that you, as the supporter, do not get overwhelmed helping the depressed individual. Getting connected with others helps to alleviate stress.
6. Read Self-Help Books. There are many types of depression such as Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar, Dysthymia, Post-partum, Unresolved Grief, Adjustment Disorder, and Life Transition/Change. It’s helpful to know what type of depression the person has. This will help determine what approach to take in the healing process. Some suggestions for books are listed under the books and products section at http://www.skylightcounseling.com/books--products.html
7. Set Your Intention. Depression is treatable. The answers are there. It is a matter of finding what path will work best for the individual. Set your intention on how to help and the inspiration will come.
Thanks for reading!
Heather Severn Callister, LMFT & Coach
P.S. Have you tried something that’s worked? I would love to hear your comments! Your comments might be the very answer other people are looking for!