How to Show Support for a Loved One with Depression

How To Show Support For A Loved One With Depression


Small acts can send big messages of support for a loved one who is currently in the grips of depression. While it can be hard to completely understand what they are dealing with, believe me when I say that putting in the effort is noticed and can make a huge difference. From simple gifts that make a day a bit brighter to weekends away, there’s a host of ways you can show how much you care for a close friend or relative dealing with depression.


Understanding Goes A Long Way

If your loved one has been diagnosed with depression, start doing your research. Find out everything you can: understand its effects, its warning signals, and its serious health consequences. This knowledge is power, and should treatment be required down the road, you can act as a helpful guide toward necessary steps to help them get better. Provide as much love and care as you can during this confusing and difficult time, because it can be a rollercoaster for all involved. Understand this illness can’t be cured in a day, and prepare yourself to offer support for the potentially long road ahead.


Lend An Ear

Just listen. I know it sounds like an easy task, but this can be harder for some people than they realize. Offer a shoulder for your loved one to lean on, and keep an open mind when they choose to open up to you. There’s nothing scarier than voicing the inner demons that plague those living with depression, so be respectful of the things they choose to tell you and the things they prefer to keep to themselves. Ask questions and listen for any indication of dangerous thoughts.



In conjunction with therapy and talking it out, mood journaling can have a profound effect on depression. Give your loved one another outlet by gifting them a nice journal. They can record their thoughts and progress without outside pressure, and find a way to express things they may not have before. Putting thoughts down on paper can be cathartic and privacy can be extremely important to those dealing with depression.


Take A Vacation

Isolation is often a direct result of depression, so help them make the effort to get out of the house. Getting away for a therapeutic weekend may help a loved one with depression take a load off and forget some of their worries. Plan an easy vacation for the two of you, or with some other friends or family members, and be blown away together by the wonders of a new place. While depression can’t and won’t be fixed by a weekend away, helping your loved one escape a stressful environment for a while could be just what the doctor ordered.


Let Them Know They’re Not Alone

Little acts of recognition that let your loved one know they’ve got someone on their side can be more than helpful. Sending flowers for no apparent reason is a simple way to show them you are thinking of them with little effort. Who can avoid smiling when there’s the scent of fresh flowers filling up your nostrils? Not me. Plus, every time they pass the bouquet they’ll remember you are rooting for them. It’s a win-win.


Clean Space, Clear Mind

Depression can create a vicious cycle of clutter and chaos. Help your loved one tidy up or clean without prompting. Little tasks can feel impossible for those who are depressed, and taking care of chores like laundry, grocery shopping, and general cleaning can create a space that doesn’t add more stress to their mind. If you’re like me and have a crazy busy life, and you can’t make it over to help them clean, have a cleaning service visit their home to take some of the stress off.


Help Them Make A Commitment To Health

Depression can seriously affect physical health, and food choices can make symptoms worse or better. Why not help your loved one while you get healthy too? Partner up and prep some meals for the week together. Create some delicious salads, chop up veggies for the week, and have everything wrapped up and easy to eat. Feeling good about your body does wonders for your brain, and avoiding the stress of planning meals each day can be more mind-cleansing than you think.

It’s hard to not feel helpless when watching a loved one battle depression, but all of these ways make it easy to show your support. Simple reminders that you care can make or break a person’s day, and make dealing with depression an easier task.

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Meriah Nichols is a career counselor, teacher and blogger. Single mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E), she is also a Trekkie who likes her coffee hot and black.
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