With over 300 million people suffering from depression across the globe, it is the leading cause of disability on the planet, according to the World Health Organization. Depression can affect people of all ages and from all walks of life. The symptoms of depression can be so severe as to prevent the person from even being able to take care of their day to day activities.
Unfortunately, despite depression being so common, people experiencing it often fail to get the support and treatment they need. If someone you care about seems to have been depressed for some time now, here are some ways in which you can support them on their journey to recovery.
Listen with Empathy
The first step is to understand what the person is experiencing. For this, you need to help them communicate, while you listen without judgement. Keeping things bottled up can actually make the person feel worse. You might not have the solution, but simply being there for them and listening empathetically can make them feel better.
Identify Signs of Worsening Depression
It is important that you observe the person to check whether the depression is worsening and learn what to do if it gets worse. Some signs to look out for include:
- Isolating oneself from the world
- Expressing extreme loneliness
- Decline in self-care and hygiene
- Insomnia or sleeping all the time
- Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness or feeling numb
- Feeling that they are a burden
- Attempts at self-harm
- Thoughts of suicide
Encourage Them to Seek Help
Unfortunately, there is a stigma attached to depression and psychotherapy. Many believe that anxiety and depression are experienced by weak people and one should have the will power to change the way they feel and get back to their responsibilities.
However, the reality is that both depression and anxiety are illnesses, just as hypertension and diabetes are ailments that need medical intervention. Depression rarely gets better without treatment, whether it is through medication, psychotherapy or both, say experts at the Institute for Personal Growth. Research shows that cognitive behavior therapy and anti-depressant medication together bring about the best results.
So, make sure you support and encourage the person experiencing depression to seek professional help.
The Risk of Suicide is Real
It can be difficult to think that your loved one could consider suicide. However, the risk of suicide is very real for those suffering from depression. Nearly 60% of all the people who commit suicide have major depression issues, according to an article on Verywell Mind. Therefore, it is important to keep a lookout for warning signs, such as:
- Talking about self-harm, suicide or death.
- Acting dangerously or in a self-destructive way.
- Seeking weapons, pills or other lethal things.
Depression can be treated and people can get back to their normal life in most cases. It all depends on how the situation is handled.