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Loving Someone with Depression: 5 Ways to Help

Written by Dr. Anjali Talcherkar

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Loving someone with depression can be both challenging and rewarding. When a loved one is going through the depths of depression, it’s natural to feel helpless and unsure of how to provide support. Understanding the complexities of depression, such as the struggle to get out of bed, feelings of isolation, and nighttime sadness, is crucial in offering compassion and empathy. While depression may not vanish overnight, there is hope for improvement through emotional health care and professional support. In this article, we’ll explore practical ways to help someone with depression, fostering an environment of understanding, patience, and love to aid in their healing journey.

What Is Depression?

Depression, as defined by the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition), is a mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed. To meet the criteria for a major depressive episode, an individual must experience these symptoms for at least two weeks, along with other criteria such as changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of death or suicide.

The exact cause of depression is not fully understood, but it is believed to result from a complex interplay of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Stressful life events, trauma, hormonal imbalances, and certain medical conditions can contribute to the development of depression.

Statistics on depression:

  • Depression is a prevalent mental health disorder, affecting over 264 million people worldwide. (World Health Organization)
  • It is estimated that 1 in 6 adults will experience depression at some point in their life. (American Psychiatric Association)
  • Women are more likely to experience depression than men, with a lifetime risk of about 20-25%. (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. (World Health Organization)


Diagnosing depression involves a thorough assessment by a qualified mental health professional. The DSM-V criteria serve as a guideline, and the clinician will conduct interviews, consider the individual’s medical history, and rule out other possible causes of the symptoms. Additionally, screening tools and questionnaires may be used to aid in the diagnosis. It is essential to seek help from a mental health professional if someone is experiencing symptoms of depression to receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Depression? 

Recognizing depression in someone you love is crucial for providing support and seeking appropriate help. Signs and symptoms of depression can manifest differently in each individual, but some common indicators include:

  • Persistent sadness or a low mood that lasts for weeks or longer.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed.
  • Fatigue and low energy makes it challenging to get out of bed or carry out daily tasks.
  • Changes in sleep patterns, such as insomnia or oversleeping.
  • Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness.
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
  • Changes in appetite or weight, either significant loss or gain.
  • Frequent thoughts of death or suicide.


Individuals experiencing crippling depression may withdraw from social interactions, resulting in isolation and no one to talk to. Nighttime sadness or increased symptoms during certain times of the day are also common.

It is essential to understand that depression is a medical condition, not just a passing sadness. While it can be severe and debilitating, it is also treatable. Encouraging your loved one to seek professional help from a mental health expert is crucial. Therapy, counseling, and medication can be effective in managing depression and promoting emotional health. Remember, showing understanding, compassion, and being supportive can make a significant difference for someone dealing with depression.

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Can Depression Go Away?

Depression is a complex mental health condition that may not go away on its own for many individuals. While some people may experience temporary periods of relief, the underlying issues often persist without appropriate intervention. For those loving someone with depression, it’s crucial to recognize that their condition may require professional help. Encouraging open communication and seeking support from mental health experts is essential. Therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication can be effective in managing depression and improving overall well-being. Being patient, empathetic, and non-judgmental while offering support can play a significant role in helping your loved one navigate their depression journey and seeking the right treatment to improve their emotional health. Remember, professional help is crucial when depression doesn’t resolve on its own, and supporting your loved one in seeking that help can make a positive difference in their recovery.

5 Ways to Help a Loved One with Depression

Supporting a loved one with depression can be impactful in their journey toward healing. Being there for a loved one struggling with depression can make a significant impact on their life. By offering a listening ear, showing empathy, and being non-judgmental, you create a safe space for them to express their feelings. Encouraging professional help and being a consistent source of support can bring hope and healing to their lives. Here are five things you can do to help:

  1. Be there and listen: Offer a supportive and non-judgmental ear, allowing them to share their feelings and emotions openly.
  2. Encourage self-care: Help them prioritize self-care activities like exercise, proper nutrition, and sufficient rest to improve their well-being.
  3. Engage in activities together: Encourage participation in enjoyable activities that they once loved, fostering a sense of connection and joy.
  4. Offer practical assistance: Help with daily tasks and responsibilities to alleviate their burden during difficult times.
  5. Suggest professional help: Gently encourage seeking support from a mental health professional who can provide expert guidance and tailored treatment.


Finding professional treatment is essential as it offers specialized interventions and therapies that can address the root causes of depression. A qualified therapist or counselor can provide the necessary tools and strategies to manage depression effectively, leading to improved emotional health and overall well-being. Remember, your support and advocacy can make a significant difference in their journey toward recovery and healing.

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Depression Treatment at Footprints to Recovery Mental Health

Footprints to Recovery is a leading provider of mental health and addiction treatment, offering a range of comprehensive programs to support individuals on their journey to healing and recovery. With a team of experienced and compassionate professionals, Footprints to Recovery provides personalized care to meet the unique needs of each client.

The treatment options at Footprints to Recovery include Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and outpatient services. These programs offer a structured and supportive environment for individuals who need more intensive treatment but do not require 24/7 supervision. IOP provides flexible and comprehensive care for those transitioning from inpatient treatment or requiring a less intensive level of care. Outpatient services offer ongoing support and therapy as clients continue their recovery journey.

Aftercare is an integral part of the treatment process at Footprints to Recovery, ensuring continued support and relapse prevention once the primary treatment program is completed. This comprehensive approach addresses both mental health and addiction issues, empowering individuals to build a strong foundation for lasting recovery and improved emotional well-being.          

If you or someone you know is seeking professional help to overcome depression, Footprints to Recovery offers a range of programs and professional support. 

Contact us today for more information on mental health treatment 888-501-7998. We are here to help guide you.


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