KARACHI: Depression works silently. It surreptitiously creeps into our lives. What makes it worse is that because of the taboo surrounding mental health, it becomes hard for sufferers to seek help.
As a responsible friend/sibling/relative, one should always keep an eye out for their loved ones and their mental health. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when trying to help your loved ones suffering from depression.
Learn about depression
The best thing one can do for a loved one is to first understand what depression is in the first place. It differs from “feeling depressed” as depression is a clinical illness while feeling depressed or sad is a natural emotion. Sadness eventually fades away whereas depression exists for longer periods of time. If you’re trying to help a loved one who suffers from depression, first learn about the difference between the two.
Depression makes people lose interest in pleasurable activities like hanging out with friends, traveling or sex. It makes people feel apathetic towards their job, their homes and the people surrounding them. Irregular eating and sleeping patterns and substance abuse are all signs of depression.
Encourage them to talk about it
The first step would be to simply ask your friend, “Are you okay? How are you holding up?” so that they can start talking about what they’re going through. Be a good listener and don’t try to fix the problem on your own or to offer any advice.
Check up on them
Don’t just forget about what they have confided in you. Keep a check on them and try to make time for them.
Help them de-clutter
When someone has depression, they may find it extremely hard to do many things that are otherwise considered easy, every-day jobs, such as checking emails, replying to texts, doing the laundry, and so on. They may feel overwhelmed to handle their daily routine. By lending a helping hand and taking care some of these things for them, you’ll be providing them with a calm environment that they need.
Advise them to seek medical help
This is the final and most important part: encourage them to seek medical help. Tell your friend that depression is like any other disorder and it can be treated well. Assure them that you help them in finding a good doctor. You can also help by setting up the initial appointment with a therapist/psychiatrist and ask your loved one to at least try it once.
Severe cases of depression can lead to suicidal tendencies in the sufferer. If a loved one tells you that they’re feeling suicidal, take notice of it immediately and try to get them help.
With additional information from Help Guide