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How can I offer support to a relative suffering from depression or anxiety?

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2024. 2:09 pm CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: Around the world and in Belize, thousands of people are suffering from depression or anxiety.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes that Depression is a common mental health condition that can happen to anyone.

It is characterized by a low mood or loss of pleasure or interest in activities for long periods of time.

This is different from regular mood changes and feelings about everyday life.

Depressive episodes last most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks.

People with depression may experience disturbed sleep and changes to their appetite.

They may have feelings of low self-worth, thoughts about dying and hopelessness about the future. Tiredness and poor concentration are also common.

Certainly, supporting someone who is dealing with depression or anxiety can make a significant difference in their well-being.

Here are tips to offer assistance:

Listen Non-Judgmentally: Create a safe space where they can express their feelings without fear of judgment. Sometimes, just having someone to listen can provide immense relief.

Offer Validation and Empathy: Acknowledge their feelings and let them know that it’s okay to feel the way they do. Empathize with their struggles, showing understanding and compassion.

Encourage Professional Help: Suggest seeking professional support from therapists, counselors, or psychiatrists. Offer to assist in finding resources or accompany them to appointments if they’re comfortable with it.

Educate Yourself: Take the time to learn about depression and anxiety. Understanding their condition better can help you provide more effective support and avoid misconceptions.

Be Patient: Recovery from depression or anxiety is often a gradual process. Be patient and supportive, recognizing that healing takes time and setbacks may occur along the way.

Avoid Judging or Minimizing Their Feelings: Avoid statements like “Just snap out of it” or “It’s not that bad.” Such remarks can worsen their feelings of guilt or inadequacy. Instead, offer encouragement and reassurance.

Offer Practical Support: Help with daily tasks or errands, especially when they’re feeling overwhelmed. Even small gestures like cooking a meal, running errands, or doing household chores can be immensely helpful.

Promote Self-Care: Encourage activities that promote well-being, such as exercise, hobbies, relaxation techniques, or spending time outdoors. Participating in enjoyable activities can help alleviate symptoms and improve mood.

Stay Connected: Keep in touch regularly, even if it’s just a brief check-in. Social support is crucial for individuals dealing with depression or anxiety. Let them know they’re not alone and that you’re there for them.

Take Care of Yourself: Supporting someone with depression or anxiety can be emotionally taxing. Make sure to prioritize your own well-being and seek support if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

Ultimately, your presence, understanding, and support can make a world of difference to someone struggling with depression or anxiety.

By offering kindness, empathy, and practical assistance, you can help them feel less alone and more hopeful on their journey towards healing.


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