How to Help Someone With Depression

April 2, 2024

Severe and mild forms of depression affect millions of people in the United States. In fact, this widespread health condition is taking a toll on the health of every person who strives to enjoy a fulfilled, pain-free life. In this article, Time Wellness Tennessee mental health facilities will discuss how to help someone with depression and how to recognize the early warning signs.

Recognizing the Signs of Depression

Depression doesn’t occur in everyone in the same way. In other words, the signs and symptoms differ from person to person, varying in duration and intensity.

In any case, let’s list a few of the most frequent symptoms and signs:

  • Low mood or persistent sadness
  • Changes in weight or appetite
  • Loss of pleasure or interest
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Feelings of excessive guilt or worthlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Physical symptoms
  • Thoughts of suicide or death
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
A man on the phone looking fatigued, a sign of depression
How to help someone with severe depression: Notice whether they are feeling down lately

Yet, early detection and intervention can help you prevent the condition from worsening. In turn, this improves the chances of successful treatment.

If you notice these symptoms, especially more than one, it’s best to reach out to Tennessee mental health facilities that offer a tailored approach to treating patients.

Ways to Help Someone with Depression

Next, we cover the main points to help you learn how to support someone with depression in real life.

Newsflash: It’s not easy, and you need to show dedication and tact when talking to them.

The rule of thumb here is not to rush things and ease into the conversation.

#1: Start the Conversation

First and foremost, approach your loved one suffering from depression with sensitivity and empathy. That way, the person can feel understood and supported throughout the process.

For example, mental health professionals often recommend taking the following steps when talking to someone with depression:

  • Pick the right moment. Choose a time when you and the person with depression are calm and not rushed. Don’t start a conversation during stressful periods—or when the person with depression feels overwhelmed.
  • Choose the right environment. Find a quiet, private, and comfortable place where you can talk without distractions or interruptions. Doing so creates a safe environment for the person to open up.
  • Express concern lightly. Start the conversation with a gentle expression of concern. Here’s a type of wording you could use: “I’ve noticed you’ve been feeling down lately, so I’m worried about you. Is there anything you’d like to talk with me about?”
  • Avoid judgment. Refrain from making appraisals, and don’t offer unsolicited advice. Your task in this conversation on depression is merely to understand their experiences and feelings.
  • Encourage seeking professional help. Gently suggest that this person seek depression treatment in Chattanooga or other Tennessee mental health facilities.

Some people won’t be ready to talk at a given moment. So, in this case, let them know that you’re there for them whenever they’re willing to open up.

#2: Offer Emotional Support

In 2023, almost 30% of Tennessee residents reported being told by a healthcare provider that they have depression, major depression, or minor depression. That’s an uptick from 2021—when some 18% of Tennesseans suffered from a depressive disorder.

A young woman sitting on a chair with her back against us, keeping her emotions to herself
Depression can happen to anyone, young and old

To alleviate this mental distress, many people require support that acknowledges their feelings and encourages hope.

In a nutshell, these are some of the most potent ways to go about it:

  • Listen actively: Show that you’re a good conversation partner by nodding, maintaining eye contact, and using cues such as “Go on,” “I see,” “I understand,” etc. Don’t interrupt them or offer quick solutions.
  • Validate the person’s feelings: Use phrases that convey understanding and empathy, such as “I can’t imagine how hard that must be for you,” “That sounds really tough,” “Your feelings are valid,” or similar expressions.
  • Encourage positive affirmations: Help them focus on positive, realistic affirmations that are grounded in their experience. For example, “You’ve been through tough times before, and you came out stronger,” or “It’s okay to take things one day at a time.”

Whatever you do, suggest getting professional help. Always advise them to seek out Tennessee mental health services and get treatment as fast as possible.

Professional Help Options: Just a Call Away

Research suggests that more than 80% of people suffering from depression who look for treatment get better in time.

But the key is to seek help on time.

If you seek professional support to treat depression in Chattanooga, you can use many types of medication, therapy, and alternative treatments.

#1: Therapy

Depending on the severity of the depressed person’s symptoms, therapy can help them get out of the emotional depths of depression.

Here’s an overview of the most effective therapeutic ways to treat depression in Tennessee:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps individuals identify and change negative behaviors and thought patterns that contribute to depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy eases the most common symptoms of depression—and allows patients to focus on positive and realistic perspectives.
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT) addresses interpersonal issues that may contribute to depression, including conflicts or unresolved grief in relationships.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) focuses on coping skills to reduce self-destructive behaviors, manage emotions, and improve relationships. Dialectical behavioral therapy teaches patients to accept their current circumstances and work toward changing things for the better.
A man and a woman drinking coffee and sitting while discussing about how to help someone with depression
How to help someone with depression: Cognitive behavioral therapy is a time-tested tool

Now that you understand the basics of how to help someone with depression let’s consider some alternative ways.

#2: Alternative Treatment

Not bound by convention, Time Wellness Tennessee mental health center offers a wide range of treatment options:

  • Alpha-Stim utilizes a device with cranial electrotherapy stimulation to relieve symptoms of depression. The way Alpha-Stim works is that it alters the brain’s electrical activity to soothe the mind.
  • Biosound therapy uses relaxing sounds to treat symptoms of depressive disorders. The most tangible benefits of biosound therapy include improved self-esteem, a brighter outlook on healing, and an increase in positive feelings.
  • Float tank therapy (also known as a sensory deprivation tank) lets patients float in a dense liquid that creates a tranquil and weightless environment. Float tank therapy helps reduce external stimuli and promote a sense of calm, directly reducing depression symptoms.
  • Music therapy offers an effective and unique approach to handling depression. For one, music therapy at Time Wellness Tennessee caters to the patient’s unique musical preferences and mental health requirements. It’s not just about creating music but also about listening, moving to music, and singing.

While your loved one navigates the rough terrain of depression, we suggest exploring some of these alternative ways of treatment.

For more difficult cases, let’s talk about medication.

#3: Medication

Research suggests that antidepressants are effective in between 30% and 40% of depressed patients. So, medication isn’t a silver bullet when it comes to getting better.

Likewise, researchers from Harvard Medical School believe that you can “improve your chances of getting relief if you combine drugs and therapy.”

An open palm with pills and a glass of water, an indication that a person may be experiencing mental distress
In helping someone with depression, medication can sometimes be used to complement therapy

With that in mind, mental health professionals don’t just focus on the prescription. In fact, our healthcare experts provide a comforting environment conducive to healing.

When we prescribe medication, we do it always to:

  • Minimize side effects
  • Enhance your control over symptoms
  • Increase the overall effectiveness of treatment

Helping someone with depression is always difficult, especially if you don’t have the right skill set or educational background.

That’s why we always recommend looking up mental health professionals in your area.

With our ownership mentality, at Time Wellness Tennesse we do everything we humanly can to empower patients on their path to sustained well-being.

Practical Tips to Manage Depression

If your loved one wants to make their daily life more manageable, they can incorporate practical strategies that focus on sleep, nutrition, and physical activity.

Let’s cover each in more depth.

Tip #1: Engage in Plenty of Physical Activity

Mental health facilities in Tennessee typically encourage their patients to get regular exercise, including:

  • Yoga
  • Walking
  • Running
  • Swimming

The best approach is to start small and work from there. To that end, set achievable goals and gradually increase the duration and intensity of physical activities.

Tip #2: Eat Well and Consume Balanced Foods

Whatever your loved one does, don’t let them consume too much junk food. In contrast, we advise aiming for a balanced diet that includes:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Healthy fats
  • Lean proteins

In fact, consider consuming foods such as flaxseeds and salms (rich in omega-3 fatty acids) and leafy greens and legumes (rich in B vitamins) for the best results. These may positively impact the mood of any person struggling with depression.

Tip #3: Sleep As Much As You Need

Advise your loved one to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Establishing a regular sleep schedule can relax the person’s mental burden and better prepare them for what’s ahead.

A woman sleeping on her bed
Sleep can be an indispensable tool to help manage depression

So, here are a few bonus tips for sleeping better and waking up refreshed:

  • Read a book or take a warm bath as a relaxing bedtime routine. That way, you’ll signal your brain that it’s time to wind down.
  • Limit exposure to screens, such as computers, TVs, and phones, one hour before going to bed. Blue light can interfere with the body’s biological sleep-wake cycle.

Finally, there’s no way to get a good night’s sleep unless you clear your thoughts for the day. To do that, engage in some yoga and mindfulness practice.

How to Help Someone with Severe Depression

Sure, some of the advice here will be similar to the ones we covered above. Yet, there are some specific considerations you need to take into account when helping someone with severe depression.

So, let’s explore three distinct options:

  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a structured program that provides several hours of intensive therapy every day over a span of a few days weekly. With IOP mental health in Chattanooga TN, patients get to live at home and attend therapy at our facilities during the day.
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP) provides a higher level of care than intensive outpatient programs. With PHP mental health in Chattanooga, patients get up to 8 hours per day of care, five days a week. Still, the beneficiaries of this therapy can still go home, as they typically don’t need 24/7 supervision.
  • Residential inpatient treatment involves living at a treatment facility for 30 days or longer. As part of residential inpatient treatment, patients receive round-the-clock care and a structured program for getting well soon. At Time Wellness Tennessee, we usually recommend this type of treatment for individuals with severe depression who haven’t responded well to other treatment options.

All these opportunities provide optimal surroundings for improved outcomes.

But whichever program you choose for your loved one, please be aware that they aren’t mutually exclusive.

How Family and Friends Can Help in Recovery

Friends and family play a critical role in the recovery process of any patient with depression. Their support often provides:

  • Practical assistance: Assisting with errands, chores, or appointments can alleviate some of the stress and help the person focus solely on recovery.
  • Emotional stability: Being there to offer encouragement, listen, and validate the person’s feelings makes a world of difference in treating depression.
  • Sense of belonging: Supporting the person to maintain a healthy lifestyle and socialize can improve their overall well-being.

All these aspects are crucial for speedy recovery.

Yet, as their loved one, you need to set boundaries for yourself to prevent burnout. Don’t forget that you have a life of your own and that obsessively focusing on helping your loved one with depression can lead to them feeling like they aren’t able to care for themselves.

Most importantly, we suggest learning as much about services for behavioral health in Chattanooga as possible. For example, you may want to get brochures and online resources and talk to mental health professionals yourself to find the best way of overcoming this difficult period in your life.

Help Your Loved One Feel Better Now

In helping someone with depression, it’s critical to implement science-based strategies and not just something you came across on the internet.

We have discussed how to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression, initiate a conversation with your loved one, offer emotional support, and listen actively. We have shown you the importance of healthy habits like balanced nutrition and physical activity, as well as patience, because recovery from depression takes time. Finally, Time Wellness Tennessee reminds you how important it is to take care of yourself by setting boundaries to avoid burnout.

When helping a loved one with depression, it is crucial to encourage professional guidance by gently suggesting to your loved one that they seek help from mental health professionals. For that purpose, contact Tennessee mental health facilities today to learn more.