We all are sad at some point in life. While some of us manage to come out of sadness, some find it really hard without being helped. And lots of times many people hesitate to ask for help. This is when you need to take charge and help people who are close to you and are sad. While sadness is a state of mind, if it stays for a long time, it turns into depression. There are chances they might not ask for help directly. You have to identify the signals and be their savior when needed. Following are the things you need to know about and do to help people around you fight sadness and depression.
1.Help People By First Being Informed
In order to be able to help people who are depressed, you need to first be able to identify the signs of it. Here’s a list of symptoms of depression. Note that there might be variations in symptoms. There are chances some of the symptoms could be absent or there might be some symptoms that are not mentioned in the list given below.
- The person becomes pessimistic, negative, and hopeless.
- There is a sense of guilt, worthlessness, and self-doubt. The person develops a low self-esteem.
- The person is easily irritable.
- The person becomes restless.
- There can either be over-eating or a loss of appetite.
- The person develops insomnia.
- A feeling of emptiness and anxiety.
- The person often avoids social interactions and tried to be alone.
- The person may experience suicidal ideations.
- Tiredness and lethargy; difficulty in concentrating and making sound decisions.
- Lack of interest in what the person used to like previously.
2.Make them realize you are there to help
Oftentimes depressed or sad people believe they would be a burden if they share their problems with someone. Let your friend/family member know that you are always ready to help them and will always be available. Once you show them empathy and win their confidence, they will confide in you and try to find comfort. That is when you have to take care of certain things and act appropriately.
Listen to them with Undivided Attention
When the person starts speaking, listen to the person with all your attention. If they feel you are not interested, they might stop wanting to talk about their state of mind with you. Your gestures, tone, and body language should be very positive and comfortable. When they speak, let them speak without interrupting them. If you do, it might divert them from what they were saying. The best thing to do is- listen to their problems and take note of the important things they mention so that you can help them later on.
When they are depressed, they are already overthinking and feel guilty and worthless. So, if you pick something they’ve said and address that they were wrong or pass a judgment, it’ll do more bad than good. There are chances what they’ve done wasn’t right. But when they are already low in confidence, it is not the right time to talk about it. Be unbiased, non-judgmental while you listen to them. Don’t let your beliefs come in between.
Oftentimes, a depressed person might go through mood swings. He/she might be angry and irritated. You have to understand that it comes from being depressed and not pick a fight. If you start arguing about it or start fighting, it will make it worse for that person. Try being quiet or deal very politely with the mood swings.
Ask Them Questions
Once they have finished talking, you have to ask questions that you think need to be answered. These questions shouldn’t be about clearing your doubts. These questions need to aim at knowing you more so that you can be helpful. Also, ask questions that will make them realize what the solutions could be by answering them. For example, if a person has had a break-up, you can ask, “Do you think you deserved to be treated like that?”. When you ask such questions, the answer that a depressed person come up with serves as a solution to that person. It brings a sense of acceptance and relief to that person.
Don’t Let Them Be Alone
Depressed people feel supported when they have someone around to take care of them. But they fail to realize that and mostly prefer to be alone. However, negative thoughts bud when they are alone. They think and think through making themselves believe they are weak and hopeless. This is why you should make sure they are never left alone. If it is too much for you to stay around them, inform someone in the family about their state (don’t mention the reasons since it is a violation of the person’s trust). Once you inform someone, also mention that they shouldn’t be left alone. Not leaving a person alone doesn’t mean you keep talking and never letting that person be independent. Instead, just make it a point that the person has someone to reach up to whenever needed.
We can greatly help people suffering from depression by making them pursue their hobbies. It is true that a depressed person seems to have lost interest in what he/she used to do. That is more because of lack of motivation and lethargy. You should find out what the person’s hobbies have been and should plan something. For example, if the person loves to play football, take that person to a sports club and make him join the team. This will be a great means of enjoyment and realization of self-worth. When depressed people achieve something (even if it is two goals), they feel better.
Also, if nothing comes to your mind, take the person out for a walk. Change in environment and fresh air brings a lot of hope for the person. You can even plan movies, going to the zoo, or dining at a nice place.
3.Take Them Seriously
When people talk about being sad or facing some problems, we generally overlook the seriousness of it. To be able to help any person genuinely, you first have to take what they say seriously. That is when you will be able to think about their problems and think of the best ways to help.
4. Inform The Family
You should bring the person’s mental state to the notice of their family. Remember, you just have to tell them about their depressed state of mind. Don’t discuss the troubles they’ve discussed with you with anybody. That would be a breach of confidentiality. The reason why it is important to let the family know about the person’s state of mind is so that more people are available for help. Also, if people around that person know about the person’s state, they’d be able to understand the reason behind their mood swings and won’t make it worse for the person.
5. Help People By Suggesting Counselling or Psychological Help
It is always the best idea to take help of an expert. If your friend/ family member hesitates to go to a psychologist, explain the benefits of it. Encourage that person to take the help of a psychologist. If need, convince his/her family members to persuade that person to go to a counselor/psychologist/psychiatrist.
6. Make The Person Avoid Alcohol
Having alcohol when going to through depression is a sabotage. There are high chances of developing alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse when a person is depressed. He/she starts treating alcohol as a solution. And after having alcohol for a long time, the person needs more and more of it each time to witness the effects of it. This then escalates the problem. The depressed person then has two problems to deal with- depression and alcohol dependency. So, you should try your best to make sure the person doesn’t consume alcohol.
7. Beware of Suicidal Ideations
If you feel like the person is suicidal, don’t overlook the signs. Whether that person talks about suicide or shows a tendency to hurt himself/herself, you have to very serious about it. In this case, you can break confidentiality and discuss it with the person’s family as soon as possible. If a person is already taking treatment for depression, take care of the person. Researchers show that a lot of patients who start taking treatment for depression commit suicide somewhere in the middle of the treatment. Don’t leave the person alone especially once the treatment has started.
Hope these tips help people who have a friend or relative going through depression. When a person is depressed, more than anything it needs to be understood by people that person is surrounded with. So, try your best to help people recover and live life to the fullest.