Depression | How To Be Supportive And Understanding

Depression is a mental health issue that affects many people in Ireland and across the world. There are different forms, from minor to severe but all instances are still very important and should be addressed regardless. Some just have bad days or are feeling down on themselves other need regular help to help them overcome it. No matter why they’re depressed, sad, or unmotivated one thing is certain — it’s a tough feeling to deal with. Depression is isolating and can make it feel like it will never end. There are some things that may help the individual and being supportive by listening or helping them is a big factor when helping them. If you feel like they will need more help then contact Aware – a charity to help and support people who have and have had depression.

So what SHOULD you say to someone who suffers from depression?

1. You’re right, this is rubbish.

The stereotype is men are problem solvers and women are listeners. However people who have depression don’t want problem solvers — they’ve been through scenarios and solutions in their head already. Instead what they need is simply acknowledgement of their feelings and empathy.

2. I’m here if you need me, You’re not alone.

Many people experience an overwhelming sense of loneliness when they have depression — that no one can understand them and they’re alone. A reminder from a friend or loved one they’re not alone and are loved can be invaluable. It brings them back to reality that people in their life do love them and are there for them if they need them.

3. I believe in you… And so should you!

Sometimes a person has no hope and that they’ll never amount to anything in life. They’ve lost belief in themselves and feel nothing they do is right or good enough. Their self-esteem is shot. It can be helpful to reaffirm that you believe in them. You believe in their ability to experience hope again. That they are still a great person, if even if they’re not feeling that way at the moment.

4. How can I help? What can I do for you?

Many people who experience depression feel they have little motivation to do things that need to be done. Be supportive and assist them doing something. It might be picking up a prescription, a few groceries from the shop, or getting the post.

5. I’m here if you need to talk (walk, go shopping, get a bit to eat, etc.).

This is more of a direct suggestion, choose something you know the friend or loved one will be interested in doing. Maybe they just want to talk and you to listen. Maybe they need a nudge to get up, get changed, and go out and do something. You can be that person to help them get moving.

6. I know it’s hard to see this right now, but it’s only temporary and you will overcome this.

When a person’s depressed, sometimes they lose perspective. Depression can feel like an endless black hole and there’s no way to climb out so you need to try tell them things will change.. Saying something along these lines reminds them that all of our emotions and moods are not permanent, even if they feel like they are. Ensure them they won’t feel like this forever and it’s only a matter of time before things get better.