As one of the most common mental health disorders, depression can be characterized by persistent sadness and a lack of pleasure in previously rewarding or enjoyable experiences and activities. The effects of depression can be long lasting and affect not only the person who is depressed, but also everyone around them.
If you are struggling to cope with a spouse, child or friend who is suffering with depression, it can be helpful to learn some coping strategies that will help both you and your loved one navigate this difficult time.
It is estimated that 16.2 million adults in the United States have had at least one major depressive episode in any given year. Even more alarmingly, approximately 1.9 million children have been diagnosed with depression and 4.4 million have been diagnosed with anxiety.
If you have not experienced depression yourself, it can be difficult to understand this life-consuming illness. Therefore, your first step to helping your loved one involves getting the facts about depression, including common symptoms and treatments.
Although there is still a certain amount of stigma surrounding mental health even now, you can find many resources that can help people with depression. From treatment centers specifically for teens, such as igniteteentreatment.com, to charities that offer ongoing support and advice for those supporting someone who is depressed, a simple Google search will bring up all the available services in your area.
This may seem obvious, but supporting someone with depression, especially over a long period of time, can be both challenging and frustrating. Part of being supportive involves knowing when to take a step back and practicing patience when it comes to their recovery.
Simply letting your loved one know that you are there for them and are standing by to listen or be a shoulder to cry on can often be just what they need at that particular time. If you do engage in a conversation with them about their depression, make sure you let them know that you understand that this illness is not their fault. Being depressed does not mean you are lazy or weak, it just means that you need help with mental health so try not to be judgmental.
Take care of yourself
Looking after your own well-being may be the last thing on your mind, especially if it is your child who is suffering with depression. However, if you want to be able to offer them the support and help that they need, then you need to make sure you are also caring for yourself.
Make sure you get sufficient sleep, eat a nutritionally balanced diet, and take time for yourself. It is also crucial that you ask for help when needed. No one person can be expected to care for someone with depression entirely on their own, and whether you need professional help or simply a friend or relative to talk to when time get tough, there is no shame in this.