How to Support a Close Relative Friend or Neighbor in Depression

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If some of our close relatives and friends are suffering from anxiety/depression, we will have to support them by encouraging to talk openly about their fears or feelings and get them counselled/guided by a physician. Persons with depressed mind will feel lonely, even when they are with their family members, friends and neighbors. They will behave in unpredictable manners, such as:-

  • Becoming angry and frightened or aggressive,
  • Refusing to accept that their behavior is in any way unusual,
  • Behaving in embarrassing or unacceptable ways,
  • Finding themselves unable to cope with day-to-day life and
  • Behaving in a hostile manner towards close relatives, friends and neighbors.

To support such depressed persons we have to:-

  • Listen: a depressed person will be anxious to talk to some body about their feelings and fears. We must listen to their expressing their feelings patiently and try to encourage them and make the depressed persons feel relaxed.
  • Show appreciation:- this is particularly important for someone who has lost his or her self-confidence. Small successes should be recognized, appreciated and celebrated.
  • Touch them:- hugs or holding a person’s hand will make them feel secure and loved. Massaging their head, feet, hands or shoulders will help to get relieved from tension.
  • Laugh with them:- anything that helps the person to feel more lighthearted and forget their problems for a while, such as films, videos or amusing memories will be beneficial. This is different from putting them under pressure to ‘pull themselves together’. At the same time we must be careful in laughing, lest they might wrongly think that we are laughing at them.
  • Help Physically:- Physical assistance will be needed with everyday tasks such as shopping, cooking, cleaning etc. Also we must be careful to see that the person should not feel that they are helped because they are invalid or sick.
  • Advocate:- We will have to stand up for their rights and speak on their behalf about anything from benefits and accommodation to the kind of treatment they are being given by others.
  • Empower:- which means helping the persons mentally distressed to regain a sense of being in control of their life. We must try to make them think and realize what they need from others, including us.

To find a close relative, friend or a neighbour depressed will be painful and upsetting. The person being always with the affected person must seek assistance from other members of the family, close relatives, friends and neighbours. Otherwise, the other person with the depressed person also will get frustrated and depressed.

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