WHO global health days

Living with someone with depression?

2016-2017

Living with someone with depression can be difficult. Here are some tips on what you can do to help someone you live with who is depressed, while taking care of yourself at the same time.

What you should know

  • Depression is an illness and not a character weakness.
  • Depression can be treated. What treatment is best and how long the depression lasts depend on the severity of the depression.
  • The support of carers, friends and family facilitates recovery from depression. Patience and perseverance is needed, as recovery can take time.
  • Stress can make depression worse.

What you can do for people who are depressed

  • Make it clear that you want to help, listen without judgement, and offer support.
  • Find out more about depression.
  • Encourage them to seek professional help when available. Offer to accompany them to appointments.
  • If medication is prescribed, help them to take it as prescribed. Be patient; it usually takes a few weeks to feel better.
  • Help them with everyday tasks and to have regular eating and sleeping patterns.
  • Encourage regular exercise and social activities.
  • Encourage them to focus on the positive, rather than the negative.
  • If they are thinking about self-harm, or have already intentionally harmed themselves, do not leave them alone. Seek further help from the emergency services or a health-care professional. In the meantime, remove items such as medications, sharp objects and firearms.
  • Take care of yourself too. Try to find ways to relax and continue doing things you enjoy.

Remember: When you live with someone with depression, you can help them recover, but you need to take care of yourself too.

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