How to talk to people with depression?

We are all bombarded with a number of stress factors in our daily lives. At times, the stress gets too overwhelming that it becomes difficult to carry out everyday activities. The mention is towards the increased cases of mental illnesses that have been witnessed in recent times.

Some Facts

According to recent data revealed, anxiety and depression have affected around 40 million of the US population. There has been an alarming increased in the number of young patients. Particularly, the rates of females aged between 20 and 30 are far more than any other group. While these numbers are shocking, there is a portion of the population who fail to recognize the problem of mental illness. To add to the problem, the statistics reveal that 18% of the affected population will not resort to treatment. Furthermore, USA, Japan and parts of Asia have also witnessed a rise in the cases of suicide. The primary reason being depression and anxiety disorder.

Certainly, these facts happen to be very unfortunate. It is always recommended to seek a psychiatrist or therapist advice when faced with any mental disorder. The doctor might recommend some medications or ways to reduce the intensity of the problem.

On a fortunate side, studies have revealed that there are other remedies that can be effective in getting control over the symptoms. These remedies may be used side by side with medications or be a total alternate. It is now widely believed that talking to someone or finding a person to open up to cab be of great help.

Ways to help someone

There are a lot of things a person can do for a patient suffering from a mental disorder. Firstly, it is important to treat the person normally, if possible with greater care. There are certain things a person suffering from depression may not want to hear. Often, people assume that a depressed person behaves in such a manner for attention. That is not entirely true and can cause the patient to feel worse if you tell them so.

Being a source of help even for a very small cause can be beneficial. At times, offering food or cooking for them may make the other person feel better as a result. It is always important to provide the person with space and do not push for anything. At times, he/she may not want to discuss. In that case, being quiet may do well and good. In other scenarios, being an active listener may be pertinent. It is important to allow the depressed person to speak as much as they want to without interrupting them.

Starting a conversation

Imagine a scenario. Your best friend has shown signs of chronic depression for quite a while now. He/she has been going through medical treatment but at times medicines don’t seem to work effectively. Your friend wants to talk about all the things that have been going in their head throughout this time. You are the only person he/she trusts and can open up to. What will you be doing when faced with such a situation?

Instances like mentioned above are likely to happen at some point in our lives. There are certain things to keep in mind when handling such situations. Firstly, recognizing that every person needs help in a different way is vital. In addition, being supportive and caring at that particular time may be very helpful.

Following are some key points to consider when helping someone suffering from depression.

1.Asking and seeking permission

There is no straightforward way of proceeding with a conversation. You can start off by either hugging or inquiring about their well-being. Never push the person to talk to you about their depressive episode. Seek permission by asking, “Do you want to talk about it?” or “Is there any way I can help you.” Despite all this, if the person does not feel comfortable, then provide them with a reasonable amount of space and privacy.

2.Expressions and body language

Keep in mind your facial expressions and the body language while conversing because they can be impactful. Depression is a really important issue and the person opening up demands a reasonable and appropriate behaviour. Do not make expressions which depict a judgmental look. Always have a neutral, caring face so the person feels entirely comfortable. Distracting yourself or deviating away from the conversation may come across as bad behaviour.

3.Making sense of everything

A person suffering from depression may have a whole lot of things running in their mind. Often, when they open up, some discussion might appear odd to you. However, that does not mean any sort of invalidation for their depressive phase. Instead, be supportive as much as you can be and do not judge them. Regard their behaviour as normal and tell them things like, “Your feelings are completely valid.” Make sense of everything the person says and try to relate with them to provide with meaningful help.

4. Give good advice

People who even want to help the person find themselves in a position where they can not do anything. At times, this is often the case. The depressive episode may be too extreme that you may not be able to think of any help. However, there is always something you could do. You may not realize but being a good listener can be of great assistance. Patients would only want to vent about something that has been keeping them under pressure.

Therapists, on the other hand, feel that some patients would welcome a hug or any friendly gesture. Doing so will make them realize that they are not alone in this entire process. They know that there is and always will be someone to listen. In addition, try helping the patient seek professional help. Assist them to the therapist and cover financial costs if possible.

5.Being a good friend

It goes without saying but be a good friend to the person suffering from depression. Follow the above four steps to show that you are there for them and will always be there. In other scenarios, it is also important to respect their private space. This means not to share their experience without their consent. Do not discuss with people the patient will not be comfortable discussing with. If the situation happens to be utterly serious, then parents or close friends can be brought for consultation.

6.Choice of words

The words you chose to speak with the person will have a great impact. Keep your tone low and mild so the patient does not feel intimidated. Always make use of sympathetic words to show that you genuinely care. Tell them things like “Everything is going to be fine,” “I am always here for you” that will make them feel better.



Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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