Seeing a friend struggle with depression can present a feeling of conflict. On one hand, supporting a friend through a mental health issue is so important. On the other hand, depression is a sensitive condition. It makes sense to be concerned about offering support in a way that invalidates or even worsens their struggle.
In addition, most people recognize that they are not qualified mental health professionals. Finding the balance between being a supportive friend and overstepping can be difficult. So, here are five ways to care for and support a loved one with depression.
1) Be Aware of The Signs of Depression
Acting from an outside perspective can be incredibly helpful to a friend struggling with depression. Gently bringing awareness to their noticeable or worsening symptoms allows them to recognize a need for additional help. This can include support from you or a licensed professional.
2) Let Them Talk It Out
Showing support for a friend isn’t always about providing a solution or answers. Simply allowing them to vent or use you as a sounding board goes a long way. Listening is one of the best ways to make someone feel heard.
3) Get Involved with Their Treatment
If a friend is already seeking professional help and has a treatment plan in place, supporting them in the journey is a great idea. A person will often feel less alone when someone is there with them in their recovery.
4) Point Out the Positives
When dealing with depression, it’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of negativity. This makes it difficult to see progress and steps forward for oneself. Acknowledging the good things for a friend can improve their esteem and propel them further.
5) Plan Ahead
Concrete plans and action steps reinforce the feeling of moving forward. Planning both for a positive future and to improve their existing condition can keep a friend from feeling they will get stuck in depression.
Getting Outside Help
While these are good ways to offer support, a mental health provider may still be necessary for treating depression. Dana Group Behavioral Health offers therapy, medication management, and a positive environment to help anyone feel better.Read More To Learn How You Can Help A Friend With Depression.