It is difficult for anyone to witness their loved one struggling with depression, often creating tension, frustration, and anger. Family and friends may feel helpless, not knowing how to handle the situation. However, the best thing a person can ever do for their loved one is support them in a way they need. So, how can we do that? 

1. Educate yourself on mental health.

Although we have become a more educated society on depression over the past few decades, individuals who’ve never experienced it may still find it challenging to comprehend. Therefore, one must educate themselves on the signs, symptoms, and treatment.

It’s important to note that picking any mental health online article may not be beneficial. So, finding material from a credible mental health professional or organization is highly preferable.

The bonus: the more we educate ourselves about mental health, the more empowered we’ll feel.

2. Offer suggestions rather than advice.

Typically, individuals with depression want someone who will listen, not fix them or offer advice. Now, asking your loved one how you can help or giving suggestions or feedback if they ask is acceptable. However, being told what they should or shouldn’t do can invalidate their feelings and cause them to shut down.

Remember, we may appreciate suggestions, but ultimately, most people want to decide for themselves. However, intervention is necessary if your loved one is in crisis or a danger to themselves or others.

3. Refrain from judgement and criticism.

Family members or friends may become frustrated with their loved ones. However, individuals living with depression are already their own worst critics and generally don’t feel good about themselves. Then, add feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness.

Your loved one may be unable to do what some consider simple tasks, such as getting up, showering, making something to eat, brushing their hair, etc. So, it’s vital not to judge or criticize them.

4. Spend quality time together.

Spending time with your loved one might be the greatest gift you give them. Again, as mentioned earlier, people with depression often isolate themselves. Therefore, the more they continue on that path, the greater risk they are for harmful behaviors such as substance abuse, suicidal attempts, or death by suicide.

Going out for a bite, taking a drive, or accompanying them for a walk can make all the difference for their mental health. Knowing someone cares for them can help improve their mood and prevent them from being less stuck in their unhelpful thoughts.

5. Don’t give up on them.

Understandably, you’d be concerned about your loved one and may feel helpless watching them struggling with depression, especially if they resist help. However, you’d be surprised how many want the help but say they don’t need it to avoid burdening you. They may also feel ashamed or think they’re weak in asking for help. Therefore, showing them you aren’t giving up on them can save their life.

Even if they don’t reach out or deny they need help, ensure you are there for them and that they can reach out to you.

6. Take care of yourself.

We often forget how much strain and pressure caring for a loved one with mental health issues can affect caregivers. Not only can it be depleting, but it can also affect the caregiver’s health and wellness. Therefore, it’s crucial to utilize self-care.

So, what does that mean? That means taking time for yourself or doing something you like, whether exercising, crocheting, reading a book, etc.

Also, ensure you seek support for yourself, such as from a friend, pastor, or caregiver support group.

You won’t do yourself any good if you’re running on empty fumes. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself easily frustrated and grasping at straws, and your loved one will easily sense it.

Hope is Real

It’s essential to recognise that your loved one’s struggles are real. At the same time, your loved one can thrive and survive with the proper treatment and support. Therefore, please don’t give up on them because that might be all it takes to steer them towards wellness.   

You Are Not Alone

It’s vital to know that you are not alone. Having someone who can relate to your issues and listen without judgment can help relieve your sadness or loneliness. One such place is Barty’s Adventures, where they hold special events and adventures to help men feel better about themselves by keeping active, thus improving mental health. Barty – We Are A Mental Health Initiative

No matter what you’re going through, you deserve to be supported.

Why Not Try Online Therapy?

Hopefully, these points could give some comfort, but sometimes just reading quotes isn’t enough. Online therapy can be a great option if you or a loved one is looking for more support.

Therapy through can be more affordable than traditional therapy and allows many options to communicate with your therapist from the comfort of your home. Most importantly, remember that it is okay not to be okay, and you are no less of a human for feeling your emotions and being vulnerable.

To receive 25% off your first month, head to

Feel free to drop by if you’d like to chat and just say, ‘Hey Barty,’ in strict confidence, and you can be anonymous if you wish. Or do not hesitate to leave a comment below.

Sandy Glover

Sandy is the resident mental health professional at Barty. She previously worked as a therapist, earning a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in counselling. Sandy has transitioned to becoming a peer presenter at several mental health settings through NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). Her passion for mental health is evident in her writing as a subject matter expert who draws from personal experience, professional expertise, and education to help eliminate stigma.

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