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Supporting someone with depression
Posted: September 30, 2009
Last Updated: September 30, 2009

When someone in your family is depressed, it can be difficult to know what to do. The support you offer to someone dealing with depression can be critical to their recovery and management of their mental illness.

 

The best thing you can do for someone suffering from depression is to recognize the symptoms and help the depressed person seek treatment. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression symptoms include: a persistent sad or “empty” mood; feelings of hopelessness; feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness; loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed; decreased energy or feeling fatigue; difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions; insomnia or oversleeping; and thoughts of death or suicide. Recognizing depression and seeking help are the most important steps to dealing with depression.

 

Depression can affect people severely, and it might require that you accompany your loved one to their medical appointments, especially if they are too young or ill to provide needed information.

 

If medication is part of the treatment your loved one is receiving, keep track of the medication and encourage your loved one to continue taking his or her medication exactly as prescribed by the doctor. It may take a few weeks before you or your loved one notices any significant changes in behavior or mood due to the medication. If your loved one has concerns about the medication he or she is taking encourage them to call the doctor and discuss their concerns.

 

Educate yourself about depression. The National Institute for Mental Health offers resources about depression on their web site http://www.nimh.nih.govor call toll free at 1-866-615-6464.  Both you and your loved one can learn about depression and find local support groups for people dealing with mental illness.

 

Take care of yourself. Feeling depressed can be contagious in a family or a relationship. Periodically take time away and seek counseling help if feelings of anger and frustration and helplessness start to become overwhelming.

 

Many times depression can make people perceive the world differently. Provide your loved one support and understanding. Make certain they know you love them and keep communication open and loving. Family support can help a depressed person cope more effectively, according to National Institute of Mental Health.

 

Most important, if your loved one talks seriously about suicide call their doctor and ask for advise on what to do. Depressed people are more likely to commit suicide and serious attempts at suicide or talking about suicide shouldn’t be ignored. Keeping their doctor or therapist informed will help them receive the treatment they need. 

 

If you feel depressed or have a loved one who is depressed and needs help call Border Area Mental Health Services. To reach Border Area Mental Health Services in Grant and Hidalgo Counties, call 388-4412; in Catron County, call 533-6649 for referral; in Luna County, call 546-2174.  For CRISIS, call 538-3488 or outside Silver City, call 1-800-426-0997.

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© 2008 by Border Area Mental Health Services and Putting the Web to Work. Front-page photo copyright by Bob Pelham, Pinos Altos Cabins, and used by permission. All rights reserved. For the privacy and comfort of our clients and staff, the photographs used in this site are representative and do not show specific individuals associated with BAMHS.