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Everyone is going through something that’s affecting their mental health in some way. When there’s a person in your life who’s showing signs of a mental health disorder, it’s natural to want to help them.

Support and empathy can go a long way in helping someone deal with mental distress and disorder symptoms, such as depression. But if someone close to you is depressed, it’s not always easy to know the right thing to say. That’s what we’re here to help you learn.

We’ll talk about symptoms of depression to look for in others and what to say to someone who is depressed. Then we’ll talk about what to say to someone with depression when it’s time to seek treatment. 

Signs of depression to look for in other people

It’s much easier to recognize negative behavioral and emotional patterns in other people than it is to acknowledge them in ourselves. That’s why someone’s mental health disorder symptoms are often brought to their attention by a person who’s close to them.

Depression isn’t always visible. When it comes to mental health disorders, it’s important to know the difference between diagnosable symptoms and temporary behaviors and/or emotions in response to certain circumstances. For example, it’s natural for your friend to feel sad if they don’t get a job they wanted, but consistent sadness for months can be a sign of major depressive disorder.

Learning about depression symptoms can help you recognize them in other people. Here are signs of depression that you should be aware of:

  • Feeling overwhelmingly sad.
  • Increased irritability or anger.
  • Fatigue.
  • Disinterest in activities.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Uncharacteristic pessimism.
  • Talking about hurting themselves.

What to say to someone struggling with depression

It’s not easy to see someone close to you struggle with depression, especially because it’s a mental health disorder that can’t be fixed overnight. Major depressive disorder is a chronic condition, but people often experience it in episodes. Sometimes they’re able to manage their symptoms, while other times their depression is interfering with every facet of their life, including their relationships.

When someone in your life has depression, you shouldn’t try to shrug it off, or think, “It’s not my business.” There are many different ways that you can reach out and show compassion for someone who is depressed, including:

  • “I’m here when you’re ready to talk.” — When someone is struggling with their mental health, it’s not always easy to sort out their feelings and thoughts. It’s important that you don’t put them on the spot or make them feel pressured to share how they’re feeling if they’re not ready. Make sure they know that you’re available to listen if they need to vent, whenever that may be.
  • “Is there anything I can do to help?” — Listening can be the most effective help for someone who is depressed. You can also help through action. Feeling fatigued and lacking energy are depression symptoms that make it difficult for a person to carry out their responsibilities. You can offer your assistance to help them complete tasks, such as cleaning or errands, which shows that you care and that it’s OK to ask for help.
  • “I can see that you’re hurting.” — When you’re hurting, you want to feel seen and validated for your emotions. Depression can cause low self-esteem, which can make someone who is depressed doubt their worth and their importance to other people. By telling a person with depression that you see their struggles, they can know that they matter to you and that you care enough to pay attention.
  • “I can’t imagine how you feel, but you’re not alone.” — Not everyone can understand how depression can feel, so you shouldn’t pretend that you understand. By acknowledging that you can’t relate to their feelings but that you’re still there for them, you’re validating their struggle without minimizing their feelings. 

What to say to someone who is depressed to find treatment

As we mentioned, there are many ways to help someone who is depressed. For some people, helping means listening to the person vent about their emotions and problems, while others help by crossing things off the person’s to-do list. But finding resources and treatment for a person who is depressed can be a type of help that brings long-term benefits.

You can’t force a person to get treatment, but it’s important for them to know that there are mental healthcare providers who can give insight and tools they need to alleviate their depression symptoms.

Encouragement can go a long way, especially if they’re unsure about whether they’re ready to seek help. Making statements like, “I know you’re strong enough to get through this” can give them the boost of confidence they need to believe in their ability to improve with the help of licensed professionals.

You can also do some work on their behalf, and research potential treatment options that you can inform them about. You can say, “I found some information that might help.” If you talk to them about depression treatments like psychotherapy, esketamine and transcranial magnetic stimulation, they can see the benefits they can gain by seeking mental healthcare treatment.

After you’ve talked to someone who is depressed, Active Path Mental Health can take the next step

Now that you’ve learned about the right ways to show support and empathy for someone in your life who is depressed, we’re here to help them continue their mental health journey. Our services include psychotherapy, TMS and esketamine to help alleviate their symptoms. 

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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