Saturday, April 22, 2017

What can I do to help someone who may have depression

Source Website: http://health.asiaone.com/health/ask-expert/what-can-i-do-help-someone-who-may-have-depression
By Dr Poon Shi Hui, Associate Consultant, Department of Psychiatry, Singapore General Hospital


Depression is a type of mental illness that requires not only professional help but also support from loved ones.
PHOTO: Depression is a type of mental illness that requires not only professional help but also support from loved ones. If efforts have been taken to help your loved one but the feelings of sadness still persist, it is always good to encourage them to seek a professional opinion.
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It can be distressing to see a loved one suffer from the grips of depression.

Don't you sometimes feel they should simply 'snap out of it', or 'not think so much' about the unhappy things that are going on in their lives?

Well, the truth is, as much as they wish to, they are unable to.

Depression is a type of mental illness that requires not only professional help but also support from loved ones.



As a firm believer in God, I know that in due time He will make a way, but right now I barely want to move out of my bed.
PHOTO: As a firm believer in God, I know that in due time He will make a way, but right now I barely want to move out of my bed. Telling me to just put my problems away and hop up like nothing is wrong is not helping me.
If you do not know what to say to someone when they come to you with their issues, be honest with them by letting them know you do not know how to help them. Yes, prayer is a crucial part of the healing process, but releasing your feelings is an important step as well. Encourage them to seek professional help, as well as maintaining their relationship with whatever higher power to ensure their recovery process. [2]
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Here are some steps you can take to help them:

1. Do not normalise or trivialise their symptoms
Individuals suffering from depression require a lot of support and encouragement from their loved ones. Reach out to them as social isolation can worsen depression.



Do not normalise or trivialise their symptoms
PHOTO: Do not normalise or trivialise their symptoms
You may look at what I am dealing with as something minor, but the way that my brain operates tells me otherwise. I can not shut my mind off every little thing I do is accompanied by something negative and positive.

Every decision I make I feel as though it will be the last one and that makes me anxious. Instead of saying its not that serious tell them that you need a better understanding of why they are feeling the way they are about a certain situation. Get them to be vocal about what they are going through; that allows them to express what they are thinking so that their thoughts are not jumbled up in their heads. [2]
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2. Listen to them with empathy
It is important to find out their concerns and provide adequate support. Avoid any active problem solving for them even though you're tempted to - sometimes, they just need a listening ear that doesn't judge.



Listen to them with empathy
PHOTO: Listen to them with empathy
It is important to find out their concerns and provide adequate support. Avoid any active problem solving for them even though you're tempted to - sometimes, they just need a listening ear that doesn't judge.
Picture is posted by WiseGEEK
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3. Encourage them to eat healthily
Individuals suffering from depression may find it difficult to even get out of bed every morning. Encourage them to be more actively involved in physical activities as exercise can boost the levels of 'feel-good' hormones (e.g. neurotransmitters and endorphins) and lift their mood!

Establish a daily routine and engage them in activities throughout the day. It can improve bad sleeping habits which can worsen insomnia at night. Furthermore, channeling their attention to other activities can help them find a new purpose in life.



Encourage them to eat healthily
PHOTO: Encourage them to eat healthily
Individuals suffering from depression may find it difficult to even get out of bed every morning.
Encourage them to be more actively involved in physical activities as exercise can boost the levels of 'feel-good' hormones (e.g. neurotransmitters and endorphins) and lift their mood!
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4. Keep a close watch on their safety
Depression can sometimes be so devastating to an individual that they find life not worth living. In some situations, they may even contemplate hurting the people closest to them. A new mother suffering from postnatal depression may think it is a better option to die together with her baby.



Keep a close watch on their safety

PHOTO:  Keep a close watch on their safety
Depression can sometimes be so devastating to an individual that they find life not worth living.
Picture is posted by WiseGEEK
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If you realise someone around you having suicidal and/or homicidal thoughts, it is a psychiatric emergency and you should seek professional help immediately. You can also be more observant of people around you who might be suffering from depression and lend them a listening ear to let them know they are not alone.

However, if efforts have been taken to help your loved one but the feelings of sadness still persist, it is always good to encourage them to seek a professional opinion.



If someone is having suicidal and/or homicidal thoughts, it is a psychiatric emergency and should seek professional help immediately.
PHOTO: If someone is having suicidal and/or homicidal thoughts, it is a psychiatric emergency and should seek professional help immediately.
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By Dr Poon Shi Hui, Associate Consultant, Department of Psychiatry, Singapore General Hospital



Reference
[1] Dr Poon Shi Hui, Associate Consultant, Department of Psychiatry, Singapore General Hospital, What can I do to help someone who may have depression?, http://health.asiaone.com/health/ask-expert/what-can-i-do-help-someone-who-may-have-depression

[2] Taylr Davis, 5 Things Not to Say to Someone Struggling with Depression and Anxiety, posted on 11 October 2016, https://www.theodysseyonline.com/5-things-someone-struggling-depression-anxiety

Links
Depression is a type of mental illness - http://health.asiaone.com/health/ask-expert/i-have-been-feeling-sad-how-do-i-know-if-it-depression