What to do when someone you love is struggling?
First of all, there are many resources out there to help you and your loved one through depression, suicide, anxiety, or numerous other struggles we all deal with on a daily basis. Looking for resources? Go to our organizations page, to find organizations that specialize in different types of aid and crisis.
Please remember that while you can do what you can to support your loved one in need, their feelings are not your responsibility or a reflection of you. If you are in a position to help, here are some ways to detect depression and things you can do to help.
SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION: (from the Mayo Clinic Website)
- Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
- Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
- Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
- Insomnia or sleeping too much
- Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
- Changes in appetite — reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
- Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
- Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that aren’t your responsibility
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
- Frequent or recurrent mention of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP:
- Encourage seeking treatment of therapy (check out our post about finding a therapist)
- Just find time to listen and let them know they are loved
- Be alert for signs of suicide (and call 911 if you are concerned about your loved one harming themselves or others
The main thing is this… we are all struggling, but it is important to be able to distinguish between someone who is depressed and someone who is likely to hurt themselves or others. We need to end the stigma against mental health and support the idea that we all should be able to get the help that we need. Mental health is just like physical health. it needs constant care, love, and dedication to health. By talking about our feelings with our friends and loved ones, we can learn to cope with the stressors and struggles of daily life.