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How to Support a Loved One Who Struggles With Severe Depression

How to Support a Loved One Who Struggles With Severe Depression

Table of Contents

It’s easy to feel powerless, upset and overpowered when a person you love has depression. Having these feelings is normal, and you should also take care of your health. Your support and companionship are essential to the recovery of your loved one. You can assist them in enjoying life, regaining their energy, being optimistic, overcoming negative thoughts, and managing depression symptoms. 

The following are other ways to support a loved one struggling with depression.

1. Share your Concerns with Them

When you notice depression symptoms in a loved one, you must share your concerns. But when you share your concerns, do so in a nonjudgmental manner. It is also vital to provide the space for them to express their feelings. The most significant help you can offer is to listen. Start by telling them about the changes you’ve noticed that worry you. Do not be critical when doing this. Instead, neutrally state the facts and pause regularly to allow them to respond. Doing this gives you a greater chance of them opening up to you. 

2. Know Depression Symptoms

Before speaking to your loved one, check over the depression symptoms. Then, if appropriate, you can share some of the symptoms with them. 

Depression symptoms and signs vary and may include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness, emptiness, tearfulness, and sadness
  • Frustration, irritability, and angry outbursts, even over minor issues
  • Loss of pressure or interest in everyday activities such as sports, hobbies, or sex
  • Oversleeping or insomnia
  • Lack of energy and tiredness, even with small tasks
  • Changes in appetite – weight gain and increased food cravings or weight loss and reduced appetite
  • Restlessness, agitation, or anxiety
  • Slowed body movements, speaking, or thinking
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness or fixating on unpleasant past situations
  • Problems with concentration, remembrance, or making decisions
  • Recurrent or frequent mention of death, suicide attempts, or suicidal thoughts

3. Help Them Obtain Treatment for Depression

A person with depression may require help seeking care. This is because they mostly experience stigma or shame. In addition, the illness makes it more difficult to manage tasks like scheduling appointments. Looking for a mental health provider may also seem overwhelming to them. 

Let them know you are available to help, remind them about their appointment, and accompany them for a visit. They may want to consult something other than a mental health expert. Ask if they prefer their primary care physician. While seeing a mental health expert is essential, receiving any type of help is most important.

4. Support Their Daily Routine

Starting depression treatment is a vital element in managing depression. Yet, your loved one may need assistance with their daily living activities. One way to offer support is to accompany them to a therapy appointment. If they’re comfortable, ask if you can listen to their healthcare provider’s guidance. 

You can also help with tasks that may seem overwhelming. For example, some tasks may include cleaning the house, doing laundry, or grocery shopping.

It’s also beneficial to establish a routine. For example, try and get them outside for a walk often. Regular physical activity helps ease stress, releasing endorphins that help boost mood. 

Behavioral activation is essential. It’s another treatment option involving engaging in meaningful activities. Encourage your loved one to do things that provide personal gratification. But, you should be cautious with socializing or extreme workouts. They may get overwhelmed, and you don’t want to stent their progress.

5. Check That Treatment is Effective

There are many ways to tell if the treatment is working. It will show in the way your loved one acts and looks. As they improve, they may start making eye contact instead of looking down. A recovering person with depression also should: 

  • Smile more often
  • Have a calmer demeanor
  • Isolates less
  • Interacts with people more
  • Sleeps and eats better

If they’re on medication, keep a watch on their mood. If you feel their medication isn’t working, get in touch with their doctor. There may be other treatments available to them. For example, other options for depression include psilocybin depression treatment. Veriheal reveals that a recent Psilocybin study shows that it significantly helps with depression. 


As you do all the above for your loved one, do not forget about your emotional and physical well-being. Ask for help when you feel overwhelmed, and take steps to avoid burnout or frustration. In addition, you should schedule time for spiritual renewal, friends, physical activity, and hobbies.

With your support and care, your loved one should stay on the path to recovery. Don’t give up on them — being encouraging will allow them to remember there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

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