When a family member, partner or friend suffers from depression or any other mental health difficulty, your support and encouragement can play an important role in their recovery. With the right care plan, you can help them cope with their depressions symptoms, support them in overcoming negative thoughts, and with time, help them to regain their energy, optimism, and enjoyment of life. However, your loved one’s depression can also wear you down if you neglect your own needs. So it is very important that you also seek support if you feel that your health and well-being is being affected.
These are some tips for supporting a friend who is going through a difficult time:
- Understand your friend’s experience
Sometimes we might have assumptions about why someone is depressed or think that we know how to fix their problems, but it is important to be neutral and to try your best to understand and respect that your friend’s values and experiences may be different to yours. People have different ways of coping with what they are going through so it is important to ask the person to tell you how they think you can help them.
- Keep in touch
Initiating a conversation with a friend may be difficult because of our expectations about what we should or shouldn’t say. However, it is important to try, especially if you notice that someone is isolating themself. Sending a text, giving a call or meeting up with a friend who has depression can make a world of a difference. You do not necessarily have to talk about the depression. The most important thing is that your loved one knows that you are checking in and that you are there for them.
Claire Borg is a gestalt psychotherapist at Willingness. She works with adolescents and adults. She has a special interest in mental health. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can visit her profile on: http://willingness.com.mt/team/claire-borg/