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How To Support A Loved One With Depression

Mental illness is one of those things that touches everyone’s life. It can be found within our own selves or our friends and loved ones. One major form of mental illness that many people struggle with is depression. Whether you personally struggle with depression or know someone that does it is important to know how to best give support to those around you or explain to your loved ones how they can best support you. Here is a bit of helpful information for everyone.

What does depression look like?

Just like a common cold, where you might have a runny nose, sore throat, or cough, the symptoms of depression may vary from person to person. Here are a few of the most common symptoms according to Mayo Clinic:

  • Feeling sad, empty or hopeless
  • Easily irritated, frustrated and having angry outbursts
  • Loss of interest in things that usually give pleasure
  • Lack of energy
  • Change in appetite
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Lethargic
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt for past events
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Recurring mentions of death or suicidal thoughts
  • Unexplained physical problems

How can you be supportive?

Knowing how to best support your loved one is just as important as knowing what symptoms to look for. Here are a few suggestions on ways you might be able to give them support.

Encourage self-love. One major symptom that most people with depression feel is a lack of self-worth. Using positive language and reminding your loved ones that they are amazing can really help. Take the time to be specific with your compliments. Hearing that you notice the details in their lives can really help give them a boost.

Avoid hyperbolic speech. Hyperbolic speech is when you exaggerate a situation. An example would be, “Man, I feel so depressed right now.” When really you mean you’re just having an off day. Try and remember that depression is a serious medical condition. This will help to validate their very real feelings instead of undermining them.

Be specific when offering help. If you visit a friend that is feeling down and you see that there are things you can do to help, ask them specifically if you can do those things. If the trash is overflowing try asking, “Hey can I take your trash out with me on my way to my car?” If you just ask if they need anything in general, they’ll probably tell you no.

Encourage treatment. If you are close enough to this person and if it would be appropriate, encourage them to get the treatment they need. This treatment could range from visiting with a mental health professional to taking medication.

Take care of yourself. Caregiver exhaustion is a very real thing. If you are the partner, parent, caregiver, or roommate of someone that struggles with severe depression it can be incredibly draining. Instead of having a 50/50 relationship with them there are times you will feel like the load is more 90/10, with you carrying most of the weight. That is why it is so important that you also care for yourself. Schedule time for you to take a walk alone or be with friends so that you can rest and recharge. By doing this, you’ll be able to provide the best support for both yourself and the person you love.

Jackson House provides residential mental health treatment to help your loved one begin their road to recovery in a supportive environment with 24/7 resources for their care. You can learn more about residential treatment and how our services can help on our program page.

About the author

Jackson House

Jackson House

We built Jackson House because we realized there was a critical gap in our healthcare system and many individuals with mental illnesses and substance abuse problems were struggling because of it. While there are many outpatient treatment options and locked, inpatient facilities there was nothing in the middle. Nothing to help people who needed around the clock care but wanted to receive treatment voluntarily, on their own terms. Jackson House is different. We provide clients with the level of care they need in a welcoming environment. When you walk through our doors, we will meet you wherever you’re at and help you on your journey toward feeling better.

It's time to feel better

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If you’re a provider and need to send us information on a client, please feel free to fax us at 619-303-7044. If you need help immediately, call our 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-766-4274. If you have a medical emergency, call 911. Jackson House is licensed by the State of California Community Care Licensing Division and certified by the Department of Health Care Services. We are also CARF Accredited. If you have any client or quality of care concerns, please reach out to us at 888-255-9280. If your concerns need further attention, you can contact the Department of Public Health at 619-278-3700 or the Community Care Licensing Division at 1-844-538-8766.