Mental health problems are often overlooked by friends and families because their symptoms are not always obvious nor easily determined. In fact, it is not advisable for people to self-diagnose their mental state because it could lead to misdiagnosis and confusion. If you have taken summer psychotherapy training programs or courses, it is possible to understand the symptoms on your own. However, professionals are still the best people to turn to when you need a diagnosis. As friends and family, we can only do so much for our loved ones suffering from mental health problems like depression. Here are some of the things to remember to be the friend or family that they need in times of struggling against depression:
Read up about depression
Learn more about depression from reliable sources. Be that knowledgeable support system they need. Knowing what to say, how to react, how to observe indicators of situations that need immediate attention are just some of the things that you can learn from reading about depression. This can help you extend help to your friend or family without committing the usual mistakes of people who don’t know what should be done in times they are needed by their family or friend struggling.
Know how to listen well
Listening intently is a skill that is not mastered by many since people love to analyze and speak after listening. People suffering from depression need to be heard without judgment. They are not speaking up to get advice, but to release the tension and feel they are understood. With that in mind, you should consider intently listening to them and just being there when they need you. Let the professionals do the advising part because they know the way to respond to such situations.
Help them find the support they need
People with mental health problems like depression usually deal with their struggles alone. They fail to seek the support and necessary professional advice they need. This is caused by the stigma surrounding mental health. This is also due to the mindset of depressed people that they are misunderstood and alone in their struggle. Make your friend or family feel that you are there to give support and you mean well when you recommend seeking professional help. Help them reach out for the help they need and do not try to solve their struggles on your own.
Take care of yourself, too
Your friend or family needs you as part of the support system. However, self-care is also important. You need to look after yourself to make sure that your mental health is not at risk. Dealing with depressed people is equally stressful. There is a chance that you end up feeling miserable as well. Step back when you need to release the stress. Distance yourself from the impact of depression is good. You may stop absorbing the shocks of depression when you can no longer handle them. It could really help you recover and offer your help once more when necessary. You can’t support a friend when you can no longer look after yourself. Check on yourself every now and then.
People with depression are struggling and they need support. Be that friend or loved one who understands and takes the appropriate response to help them win their battles.