Is your loved one struggling with depression? Are you wondering what you can do to make things easier for them? Don’t worry – here are a few ways you can support your loved ones during this challenging time in their lives.

Know What Symptoms to Look Out For

In some cases, your loved one may not even know that they are suffering from a change in their mental health. This is especially common in cases where the change in their mental health has been gradual, and they may have convinced themselves that this is the way they have always been.

The obstacle here is that since they don’t know they are suffering from mental health challenges, they cannot take the necessary steps to get help. The best way you can help is to know what signs to look out for, which include:

  • Loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed
  • Unexplained and severe changes in weight
  • Loss of energy, constant fatigue, and sleeping too much (or having insomnia)
  • Anxiety, agitation, or restlessness, especially during everyday situations
  • Mentioning suicidal thoughts, death, or other concerning topics
  • Expressing that they feel guilty, worthless, or like a failure

If you notice your loved one is displaying these signs, bring up your concerns with them calmly, and make sure you’re ready to listen to them.

While these signs are a signifier of depression, they do not necessarily mean your loved one is definitely suffering from depression. Keep an open mind to their explanations. Additionally, keep in mind that people often seek treatment for mental health concerns without mentioning it to the people around them, and there is a chance that they are already seeking professional help.

Consider In-Person Mental Health Care and Rehab

Rehab is not just a solution for people with addiction concerns, as is portrayed in mainstream media. There is a growing number of wellbeing transformation rehab centers making their professional aid available to people living with a plethora of mental health issues including, but not limited to, depression. While this isn’t the solution for everyone, some people may find it easier and more effective to spend their recovery time away from the stresses of their everyday lives.

However, as with the point above, be ready to listen to your loved one after you bring up this option. Remember, it isn’t right for everyone, and some people may find that being surrounded by friends and family is the best solution for them. Be open to helping them with the solution that is right for them, instead of having a single solution in mind for them.

Know the Warning Signs for Suicide

While this is likely not something you want to think about, the fact is that in many cases, the risk of suicide is very real. Though not all people suffering from depression are suicidal, it’s essential to take people who express these thoughts seriously.

In some cases, the risk of suicide increases after the start of treatment. Specifically, antidepressants can result in an increase in suicidal thoughts immediately after a person starts taking them. This is because antidepressants essentially provide them with additional energy to carry out their thoughts.

At the same time, proper use of antidepressants is an essential part of treatment for depression, which means it’s not something your loved one can simply avoid. Instead, you should be aware of the warning signs, which include:

  • Expressing feelings about suicide, self-harm, death, or a general preoccupation with dying
  • Talking about feelings of self-hatred and hopelessness
  • Acting in ways that are dangerous, especially if these actions are clearly out of character
  • Saying goodbye, getting their affairs in order (suddenly making or updating wills, etc.), and giving away treasured items
  • Having a sudden sense of calm and determination after a long period of depression

If you notice any or all of these signs, bring up your concerns with them immediately. If they are non-receptive, consider contacting their healthcare professional with your concerns if necessary.

Support Them Daily

Recovering from depression is rarely an easy task and can often take time. Your loved ones may need help with their daily life for a long time as they recover, so be ready to help them in any way you can.

Some ways you can help include offering to do tasks that may feel overwhelming, like grocery shopping or doing the laundry. One thing that helps with recovery is regular physical activity, so you could also consider scheduling daily walks or going to the gym with them.

At the same time, make sure not to go overboard, as you may overwhelm them. Remember to listen to what they need and meet them there, instead of pushing them too fast, too soon.

Ultimately, the best way to support someone struggling with depression is to be by their side and be open to listening to their concerns. At the same time, make sure not to endanger your own mental health by doing so – you won’t do them much help if you burn out as a caregiver!