The things we say and do and can make a difference when someone is depressed. Here are some things that help.
It takes patience, courage, and practice.
The first thing to do:
It's not easy to find a good therapist or the right fit. You can help someone by getting recommendations of a good therapist. When you help find a recommendation, you are a lifeline. Ask your friends for recommendations. Check with your healthcare provider, naturopath, acupuncturist, or massage therapist. They will usually know someone.
You can even help set up the first appointment or stand with them when they make the first phone call.
It takes courage to go to that first appointment.
Note when their appointment is and bring some care.
Call them, check in and ask how the appointment went. Ask if they made another appointment.
It is important to ask if your loved one is feeling suicidal. Ask. Get immediate help if they say yes. Stay with them. Do not leave them alone.
Lend them your faith:
People who are depressed can get exhausted by the fight and as we know, they may give up. Bring lots of faith. The faith that they will recover, remind them of the better days. Loan them your faith when they run out of it. Tell them they will heal.
Support the meds:
Never ever say, "meds don't work". Medication is sometimes essential. Be affirming and support people to take the medication. The medication can help them stabilize. Medication alone is not enough. If someone says they have stopped taking all their meds, be concerned. Remind them if you saw the medication helping. Be understanding that medication has side effects.
Show up often:
Join them in doing the life affirming things that help people recover. Show up. Be a good friend. Hang out with them and get them to take a walk, go out in nature. Do meditation together. Go for a massage. Take a yoga class together. Be the soft shoulder.
Bring your strength:
Never be tired of their fight. It can be exhausting for them and exhausting to everyone supporting them, including you. In fact, there will be times when it is too much for you. Try not to withdraw. Try to bring others onto the team to support and care and help so you can take breaks.
We have all heard of people who were getting help, taking meds, had loving people around and still took their lives. It takes more than meds, more than therapy, it takes a whole lot to break through with someone to find a life worth living.
Often they need to make changes in their life to make it better. Try not to be reactive and think they are making a big mistake. It takes so much courage to take the steps to make the changes. Be supportive of them taking those steps.
For those who have lost a loved one to suicide, the burden of "what could we have done differently" weighs so heavy. Your love and understanding will be needed. They did everything they could.