There were so many things I was willing to speak to the father of my child about. Politics? Of course. My undeniable disdain for his mother? Surprisingly, not all that difficult to discuss. But even now, four years and a baby later, I have a difficult time articulating my depression and how he can help me.
Figuring out how you can help a family member suffering from depression isn’t easy, especially since depression impacts different people in different ways. But it is worth trying.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), affects 6.8 million adults, or roughly 3.1% of the United States population. Still, only 43.2% of those affected receive treatment. The World Health Organization (WHO) cites major depression as the heaviest burden of disability among mental and behavior disorders.
The stigma associated with mental health disorders, like depression, also inhibits individuals from seeking the support and treatment they need. In 2011, only 59.6% of individuals with mental illness reported receiving treatment, and the stereotypes depicting people with mental illness as being dangerous, unpredictable, and generally incompetent often discouraged individuals from speaking candidly about their mental health.
The first step in helping your loved one who is suffering from depression is acknowledging that they have it. We rounded up some other tips that will help you be a good ally to those in your life grappling with this mental illness.
Remember four important, undeniable facts
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) asks that supportive family members and friends remember four things prior to any attempt at helping their loved one with depression: your loved one’s illness is not your fault (or your loved one’s fault), you can’t make your loved one well, but you can offer support, understanding, and hope, each person experiences a mood disorder differently, with different symptoms, and the best way to find out what your loved one needs from you is by asking direct questions.
Keeping a clear and open mind, while simultaneously establishing realistic expectations regarding your loved one’s mental health, treatment, and even reaction to treatment, is an important step in helping your family member suffering from depression
Don’t try to fix your loved one’s problem on your own
If love, concern, support, and the best of intentions could cure depression or any other kind of mental illness, psychologists would be out of a job and mental illness wouldn’t impact millions of people all over the country. But none of the aforementioned can eradicate your loved one’s depression.
Instead, DBSA encourages family members to support their loved ones in seeking professional help. According to The Mayo Clinic, medications and psychotherapy are effective treatment measure for most people with depression. Many people with depression also benefit from seeing a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professional.
Don’t ask them to „snap out of it“
According to DBSA, „Your friend or family member can’t snap out of this illness any more than he or she could overcome diabetes, asthma, cancer, or high blood pressure without treatment.“ Personally, I know that telling me to „get over it“ or „just be happy“ or „stop whining“ did nothing but make my depression worse, and reinforce the negative idea that I was alone in my mental illness.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: Business insider