Supporting a loved one with depression
If a friend or family member is struggling with depression, it can be difficult to know how to support them – we’ll share some of the best resources to help you recognise the signs of depression and how you can help and support them from diagnosis through to treatment.
What is depression?
According to the Mental Health Foundation, mixed anxiety and depression affects one in five older people and is the most common mental disorder in Britain. The term depression can cover a huge variety of mood, ranging from a relatively mild unhappiness to the feeling of being unable to cope with life and if your loved one is suffering, it’s only natural that you’ll want to help.
How to recognise depression
Not everyone who has depression will have a diagnosis and even if they do, there’s a change that they won’t share it – no matter how close you are to them. What’s more, the NHS says that it’s often a family member or partner who first recognises a problem encourages someone to seek professional support.
Mental illnesses such as depression still carry a stigma that can make it difficult for people to share so if you’re concerned about someone, there are some signs you can look out for yourself. Have a look at the signs and symptoms on the NHS Choices website or, if you’re worried about a male family member or friend, the 12 signs of depression in men article from Health might be very useful.
Places to find help
To understand a little more about depression and the ways it can affect people, have a look at the advice for families offered by Depression Alliance. This charity has some very useful information to help you get to grips with what depression is and the kind of things your loved one might be experiencing. Another great source of knowledge is the Clinical Depression website, which has a huge amount of information about symptoms, treatments and up-to-date thinking and research.
The charity Mind also has a fantastic section dedicated to explaining depression and showing ways that friends and family can help – including some tips on how to access and find additional treatment. It also explains that caring for someone with depression can often be difficult and that it requires patience, compassion and an ability to look out for your own health and happiness too.
Depression isn’t ‘inevitable’
Many people assume that depression is a normal part of the aging process but that’s not the case. If you’re a little older and you’re worried about yourself and your partner, the Mental Health Foundation has a very useful downloadable guide about looking after your mental health it later life.
Have your found any great local resources for help with depression?
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Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor
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