Depression is often devalued and seen as a side effect of laziness, a weak character, a desire to procrastinate, excessive self-pity, or just a bad mood. But depression is a disease that affects more than 300 million people every year, greatly impairs their quality of life and work capacity, and can lead to suicide.
What can be done to support a person with depression:
Do not try to encourage a person with phrases like “just smile”, “it’s all right, it’s just a period”, “just pick yourself up and everything will pass”. This reaffirms the frivolity of the condition and makes the person feel even more depressed because they seem to be weak.
Don’t force a person to do something beyond his or her ability. Distracting depression by means of additional work or forced communication in a large company of people, on the contrary, postpones a referral to a specialist and can increase feelings of guilt.
Do not try to give professional advice yourself if you are not an expert. Self-medication of depression is dangerous, and some self-help methods give a faster temporary effect and do not mean at all that you need to refuse professional support.
It is better to try to support, listen, talk about your experience of depression treatment (if you have it) or advise to contact a specialist or someone who knows how to act in case of depression. If you have contacts of a specialist or know where qualified help can be provided, please share. In some cases, this may be the best way to support a person in a difficult situation.
Supporting a depressed person can be very difficult. Therefore, it is important to monitor your internal resources and take care of your emotional state. After all, you won’t do much to help a depressed person if you feel depressed yourself.