How To Help A Family Member With Depression

Depression is something that none of us are immune from. It’s part of mental health and as we all have a brain and feelings, depression can happen to any of us. Sometimes, it’s a feeling triggered by a certain event or simply just by existing in the life you’re in.

Everyone handles their life differently and some may struggle more than others, while some simply have a tougher time in life in general.

Understanding the signs and knowing how to help, is a great way to help a loved one who may be going through a bout of depression. Whether it’s new to them or it’s something they’ve experienced many times before, here are some tips to help your family member with depression.

(Image Source)
Look out for tell-tale signs
There are often tell-tale signs that would indicate that a family member is going through depression. It’s something that could impact their behaviors in a number of ways. Here are just a few indicators that someone may be dealing with depression:

  • Feeling tired all the time.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Headaches and muscle pain.
  • Feeling sick and run down.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Significant weight loss or gain.

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means but it’s something to be aware of. A change in their mood is often an indicator that something isn’t quite right. Whether they feel angry all of the time, or they get upset a lot, these are emotional responses that are worth taking a closer look at.

Try to understand where it’s coming from
Where is the depression coming from? Some of those who get depressed will do so from a traumatic event. For example, the death of a friend or family member can cause depression. The loss may be a different kind of loss, like the loss of a job or a relationship that didn’t work out.

For some people, depression is ever present and it’s something that really has no specific point of reference. However, it’s useful as a family member, to try and understand where it may come from so that you can help them further. Speaking to them directly about where they feel the depression originates from, may certainly be helpful to know.

Continue to include them in social events
While it might be tough for them and for the family to deal with, the last thing you want to do is exclude them from any social events. Even if the reason for doing so is feeling like they won’t enjoy being there, the invitation should always be offered.

For someone with depression, feeling like they’ve been excluded from social events for having depression will likely send them spiraling.

It’s important to keep their routine as normal as possible to help guide them through this already challenging time.

Help them seek mental health treatments
While they need to be willing to get the help themselves, it’s worth asking them if they feel mental health treatment might be the best course of action. As a family member with likely no experience of mental health in a professional capacity, you can only do so much for your loved one.

With that being said, if you’re offering to go with them to seek mental health treatments, then this could really help get them towards the help they need. Of course, this might not be the best course of action for everyone but for many struggling with their mental health, it can help to see a professional.

Be there as a shoulder of support
As a loved one, whether it’s a family member or friend that’s going through a mental health crisis, it’s important that you’re there as a shoulder of support. Whether you accompany them on those trips to the mental health clinic or therapy, to simply showing up when they need you to. It’s important that you’re there, even if you don’t say anything.

Those that experience depression can often feel alone and so having someone there for guidance and support helps a great deal.

Keep checking in but take care of yourself too
While it’s important to keep checking in on the loved one, it’s also important to take care of yourself too. At the end of the day, you don’t want to impact your own mental well-being. A loved one’s depression can have a wider impact on the mental health of all those involved, so it’s important to take the steps to look after yourself too.

Helping a family member with depression is challenging, so be patient and be there for them as best as you can.

Dexie Jane

Mother of 2. She drinks coffee everyday and wine on the weekends. She devours massive amount of chocolate, pork, and sushi. She loves to dance in her living room and binge-watches KDRAMA, historical dramas, and excessive unhealthy dose of Crime/Murder mysteries/dramas/documentaries. She's also a proud Bibliophile and loves being a bargain fashionista & SHOEHOLIC!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.