Coping Advocacy And Support For People With Depression
American Foundation for Suicide PreventionThis organization offers support and educational material for people contemplating suicide. Learn how to talk to someone who is having suicidal thoughts, or get help for yourself or someone you know who may be considering suicide. If you need to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 800-273-TALK .
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance The DBSA focuses on educating, supporting, and promoting wellness for people who have depression, bipolar disorder, and other mood disorders. On its website, you can find a support group local or online or log your mental health journey using its Wellness Toolbox.
Erikas Lighthouse This site builds awareness around teenage depression. Get a better understanding of teen mental health through stories on its blog. Also, check out its Teen Toolbox if youre struggling with depression or if you know a teenager with depression.
Families for Depression Awareness This organization provides support for families with loved ones who have depression and bipolar disorder. If you think you or a loved one may have depression, you can take an anonymous test. You can also find out if depressive disorders run in your family. If youd like to keep track of your or a loved ones mental health, try the Depression Wellness Analyzer.
National Alliance On Mental Illness
While the National Alliance on Mental Illness is best known for its advocacy work, it has also produced a large amount of information on mental health conditions, including signs and symptoms, treatment options, up-to-date statistics, and advanced research.
NAMI works on many initiatives and programs to provide intervention, treatment, and financial support by working with government entities to ensure that mental health is included in healthcare policies.
The organization addresses various aspects of public policy with the goal of improving the lives of those affected by mental health issues. They are working to improve policies, from making early intervention possible to reducing the number of people jailed with psychiatric conditions.
Resources For Clinicians And Public Health Professionals
View your states prevalence of postpartum depression using PRAMStat, an online data platform from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System.
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Helping A Friend Or Family Member
You can play a key role in helping a person who is depressed:
- Be a good listener and avoid making any judgments.
- Encourage your friend or family member to get other help as well, and assist them in finding it.
- Offer to go with them to appointments.
- Stay in regular contact let them know youre there for them.
- Make plans together to do something fun.
- Stay alert for warning signs of suicidal behaviour . If there is an immediate risk, get them to a hospital emergency department, or call 911 right away.
Dont forget to look after yourself. Make sure to make time for yourself and your own wellness needs physical, emotional, social and seek extra support for yourself when you need it.
Resources For Black Individuals
Therapy for Black GirlsThis website is geared toward destigmatizing mental health issues among young Black women and girls, and providing them with information that is accessible and applicable to their life experiences. Check out its blog, listen to the Therapy for Black Girls podcast, and find a therapist who can see you either in person or online.
Depressed While Black This online community advocates for Black-affirming mental health support for Black people who have severe depression. Stay up to date with the community on its , or sign up for its newsletter.
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Worried About Someone Heres What To Do
Not sure who to reach out to for help? You can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline and text the Crisis Text Line to talk about your concerns for someone else.
What Are The Different Kinds Of Depression
Depressive Disorders are a category of mood disorders that involve extended periods of feeling extremely low and disrupt a persons ability to enjoy life. Some of the most common Depressive Disorders include:
Major Depressive Disorder a mental health condition characterized by an inescapable and ongoing low mood often accompanied by low self-esteem and loss of interest or pleasure in activities that a person used to find enjoyable. To meet the criteria for Major Depressive Disorder , symptoms must be present nearly every day for at least 2 weeks. MDD is also often referred to as Major Depression.
Persistent Depressive Disorder refers to a longer lasting form of depression. While Major Depressive Disorder is diagnosed if an individual experiences symptoms for at least 2 weeks, Persistent Depressive Disorder is used when symptoms of depression are present on most days for at least two years, but do not reach the severity of a major depressive episode.
Post-Partum Depression depression that starts after child birth and lasts at least two weeks, up to a year.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder a severe form of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome that is diagnosed when a woman experiences severe symptoms of depression, tension, and irritability in the week prior to menstruation. While it isnt uncommon for most women to experience emotional and physical changes prior to menstruation, women who meet criteria for PMDD experience changes that impact their lives in more profound ways.
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Taking Care Of Yourself
Theres a natural impulse to want to fix the problems of people we care about, but you cant control someone elses depression. You can, however, control how well you take care of yourself. Its just as important for you to stay healthy as it is for the depressed person to get treatment, so make your own well-being a priority.
Remember the advice of airline flight attendants: put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else. In other words, make sure your own health and happiness are solid before you try to help someone who is depressed. You wont do your friend or family member any good if you collapse under the pressure of trying to help. When your own needs are taken care of, youll have the energy you need to lend a helping hand.
Speak up for yourself. You may be hesitant to speak out when the depressed person in your life upsets you or lets you down. However, honest communication will actually help the relationship in the long run. If youre suffering in silence and letting resentment build, your loved one will pick up on these negative emotions and feel even worse. Gently talk about how youre feeling before pent-up emotions make it too hard to communicate with sensitivity.
Dont Tell Them To Cheer Up
If a person with depression could simply cheer up they would, and telling them to do so can add to their distress. Common phrases to avoid telling a person with depression include:
- Cheer up
- Just smile
- Snap out of it
Reciting platitudes and inundating the conversation with toxic positivity could exacerbate the feelings of guilt and shame that individuals with depression already combat on a day-to-day basis, says Leela R. Magavi, MD, a psychiatrist and regional medical director at Community Psychiatry in Newport Beach, California.
Instead of trying to overload them with positivity, try doing these things instead:
- Empathize with their situation
- Ask them if they want to talk about their feelings
- Tell them, you matter
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Encouraging The Person To Get Help
While you cant control someone elses recovery from depression, you can start by encouraging the depressed person to seek help. Getting a depressed person into treatment can be difficult. Depression saps energy and motivation, so even the act of making an appointment or finding a doctor can seem daunting to your loved one. Depression also involves negative ways of thinking. The depressed person may believe that the situation is hopeless and treatment pointless.
Because of these obstacles, getting your loved one to admit to the problemand helping them see that it can be solvedis an essential step in depression recovery.
If your friend or family member resists getting help:
Suggest a general check-up with a physician. Your loved one may be less anxious about seeing a family doctor than a mental health professional. A regular doctors visit is actually a great option, since the doctor can rule out medical causes of depression. If the doctor diagnoses depression, they can refer your loved one to a psychiatrist or psychologist. Sometimes, this professional opinion makes all the difference.
Offer to help the depressed person find a doctor or therapist and go with them on the first visit.Finding the right treatment provider can be difficult, and is often a trial-and-error process. For a depressed person already low on energy, it is a huge help to have assistance making calls and looking into the options.
Basic Facts About Depression
- Major depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting 6.7% of American adults each year.
- Depression causes people to lose pleasure from daily life, can complicate other medical conditions, and can even be serious enough to lead to suicide.
- Depression can occur to anyone, at any age, and to people of any race or ethnic group. Depression is never a “normal” part of life, no matter what your age, gender or health situation.
- While the majority of individuals with depression have a full remission of the disorder with effective treatment, only about a third of those suffering from severe depression seek treatment from a mental health professional. Too many people resist treatment because they believe depression isn’t serious, that they can treat it themselves or that it is a personal weakness rather than a serious medical illness.
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How To Help Someone With Depression
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Verywell / Bailey Mariner
If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
If someone you love has depression, you may wonder how you can help. You may even experience a range of difficult feelings of your own, such as worry, disappointment, and anger.
We Are Stronger Together When It Comes To Depression
A good support system is utterly essential in helping someone cope with depression. While the National Institute of Mental Health reports that 17.3 million American adults struggle with a major depressive disorder each year, those struggles can be greatly mitigated by the care and attention of friends, family, counselors, medical professionals, and clergy. For the 2.2 million youth who also struggle with depression, these support systems can work wonders in preventing substance use, suicidal episodes, and other comorbid mental and physical health issues.
A 2010 study from the journal General Hospital Psychiatry reveals that peer support can be just as effective as many therapeutic and clinical interventions. These statistics show that, while depressive episodes occur in intimidating numbers in the United States, there are many avenues for hope, healing, and continual wellbeing. In other words, you can be instrumental in facilitating a friend or family members recovery from depression.
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Recognizing Depression In Others
Signs of depression should never be ignored. Know what to watch for so youre prepared to help someone if they need it.
* Most features are available only to members receiving care at Kaiser Permanente medical facilities.
Kaiser Permanente health plans around the country: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., in Northern and Southern California and Hawaii Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia, Inc., Nine Piedmont Center, 3495 Piedmont Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30305, 404-364-7000 Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc., in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., 2101 E. Je fferson St., Rockville, MD 20852 Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest, 500 NE Multnomah St., Suite 100, Portland, OR 97232 Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington or Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington Options, Inc., 601 Union St., Suite 3100, Seattle, WA 98101
National Institute Of Mental Health
The National Institute of Mental Health is America’s federal agency for mental health and one of the largest research organizations in the world committed to the treatment and prevention of mental disorders. It provides the most comprehensive, up-to-date information on medical studies and treatments, making it a great resource for those with depression.
You can learn about the medications and psychotherapies that help treat depression and even join a clinical trial through NIMH. The organization provides brochures, fact sheets, and statistics on major depressive disorder in addition to many other mental health conditions.
As the NIMH points out, No two people are affected the same way by depression and there is no one-size-fits-all for treatment. It may take some trial and error to find the treatment that works best for you.
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Avoid Judgment And Blame
If someone you love is depressed and no longer able to do the activities they used to, including working or helping around the house, you may feel like they are lazy. When you get frustrated, try to remember that someone who is depressed isn’t lazythey’re ill. Everyday activities like cleaning the house, paying bills, or feeding the dog may seem overwhelming, if not impossible, to someone who is depressed.
If your loved one’s responsibilities around the house are piling up, you may not be able to take them on yourself.
In addition to resisting the urge to blame your loved one, try not to blame yourself either. Know that it’s OK if you need to ask for help.
Interpreting Scores: How To Know If You May Need Help:
If your score is 4 or less: May be experiencing tough times but may not need professional treatment.
5-14 Should consider speaking with a professional, your doctor, a counselor at school or work, therapist, or other mental health specialist.
15 or more: May be experiencing clinical depression and likely would benefit from a thorough check up and possibly antidepressant medication andtherapy. .
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How To Help A Friend Or Family Member With Depression
A 2011 study published through the National Institutes of Health measured the perceived advantages and drawbacks when a person dealing with depression turns to family or friends. When the person turned to has an understanding of what depression is, the toll it can take, and the resources that are out there, the depressed person is far likelier to seek help.
The Mayo Clinic pinpoints five key ways in which a friend or family member of someone with depression can help.
Digital Shareables On Depression
Use these resources to raise awareness about depression.
Depression is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how someone feels, thinks, and handles daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. For more information on depression, visit the health topic page or view the available brochures.
Help raise awareness about depression by sharing information and materials based on the latest research.
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Resources For Lgbtq+ Individuals
The Trevor Project This national organization focuses on suicide prevention among young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Reach its crisis help line by calling 866-488-7386 or texting START to 678-678.
Human Rights Campaign This organization is geared toward fighting for the equal treatment of LGBTQ+ people. Check out the campaigns Healthcare Equality Index 2020, which assesses the inclusivity of healthcare practices and policies.
Talk To The Person About Depression Its Effects And Its Treatment
Your concerns will only be heard if you speak up about them. Be open and honest about why you are worried. Mention the changes you have observed in the person. This is a crucial period when sincere and non-judgmental speech is vital. Also, remember that talking involves listening to and validating the other persons thoughts.
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