11 Ways To Reach In To Those Who Have Depression

Those with depression are actively encouraged to reach out for help and support but the low self-worth that we experience as part of depression can make it a really difficult thing to do. When we’re low, it can be hard to find the words we need in order to reach out to those around us. It can be hard to believe that anyone cares. Sometimes we worry about burdening others with our problems. This can mean that we don’t always reach out for the help and support that we need. Having the people around us ‘reach in’, rather than relying on us to tell them that we’re not okay, can really help.

11 Ways To Reach In To Those Who Have Depression1. Learn About It

Taking the time to learn about depression, and understand it as much as is possible, can really help us. If you have some background to our illness, it might help you to understand some of our thoughts and actions. When we come to open up, or ask for help, it can be easier if the person we’re speaking to has some knowledge of what we’re experiencing. Once you have a bit more of an understanding, you might know us well enough to know of some things that you could help us with, that might be more unique to our personal situation.

2.  Check In

When we’re really low, it might be hard to reach out. We might not want to burden you. We could feel like nobody cares. Sometimes, we need you to ‘reach in’ by checking in. This might mean dropping us a text or a private message asking us if we’re okay, and reminding us that you’re there if we need you. This sort of message can give us a way to tell you that we’re struggling, without us having to initiate it.

3. Ring Us Up

Some of us hate phone calls, so ringing us up won’t help. But for those of us who don’t mind them, a phone call can be a lot more helpful than a text. With a text or a message, it’s easy to hide what’s really going on. We often know the ‘right’ words to say to people. It can be very easy to pretend that we’re fine. On the phone it’s much harder to pretend. If you know us well, you will often be able to tell how okay we are when you hear our voice. A phone call can make it much easier to have a longer, more in-depth conversation. It’s likely to give us more space to discuss what’s going on in our lives.

4. Ask A Few More Questions

Depending on how well you know us, sometimes we might need you to ask us a few more questions. It can be all too easy to answer ‘how are you’ with ‘fine thanks, you?’. It often trips off the tongue before we’ve had a chance to consider what we’re actually saying. Sometimes pushing us a little further can allow us to talk about something we need to speak about. Depression needn’t be the elephant in the room. If we tell you we’re fine, ask us if we’re really okay. Sometimes, it’s helpful to ask a few more questions, especially if you know us really well and you think that we’re not okay. We might not want to talk about it at all. But if you know us well, you will probably pick up on that pretty quickly.

5. Hugs

Sometimes, a hug can say more than words. Sometimes, you don’t need to tell us that you know we’re struggling, we just need a hug. A hug can tell us that you’ve noticed, that you care, and that you want to be there for us. There are times when we don’t need words. Sometimes we don’t have any words to give. We might just need someone to be alongside us through the difficult times.

6. Offer Practical Support

Depression can drain our energy. It can leave us absolutely exhausted. Offering to practically help us can give us some space to breathe. It can give us some leeway to allow us the time and space we need to get back on track with things. Depending on how bad things are, we might need to share our crisis plan with you.

7. Encourage Self-Care

When we’re really struggling with our mood, self-care can be hard to keep up. It’s often one of the first things to go when our mood drops. Encouraging us to keep up with self-care can help us to stop things slipping quite so much. Depending on how well you know us, it could include things like prompting us to shower, or reminding us to stick a wash on. You could help to relieve some of the burden involved in looking after ourselves by cooking us a meal (or a few for our freezers). You could invite us out for coffee, so that we have to get dressed and leave the house. The kinds of things that are helpful will depend on how well you know us, and the sorts of things you normally do with us.

8. Use ‘We’

When talking to us, it can help to use the ‘we’ voice. For example, rather than saying ‘you’ll get through it, I know you can do it’, try saying ‘we’ll get through it, we can do this’. This can help us to feel less alone. It can remind us that you are there alongside us, that we’re part of a team.

11 Ways To Reach In To Those Who Have Depression9. Distractions

Depression can fill our head with lots of difficult thoughts. It can be incredibly distressing. There are times when we need a distraction to give us a break from it for a little while. Helping to distract us can be helpful. This could involve low energy things like bringing a film over for an evening. If you don’t live near us, you could set up a game on an app with us like ‘words with friends’. We might prefer to do other activities like crafting or going on a walk. You will know the sorts of things that we enjoy.

10. Little Things

When we’re living with depression, family and friends doing ‘little things’ can mean the world to us. If you do some baking, you could bring us some. You could write us a note to remind us that you’re there for us. If you’re making a coffee for yourself at work, you could make us one too. It doesn’t have to be much, just little things to remind us that you’re thinking of us and you care about us.

11. Remind Us That You Love Us

Depression can cause us to feel unlovable. We might feel useless, we might feel like a burden, we often can’t imagine why anyone would love us and we can feel incredibly lonely and isolated. Reminding us that you love us, and why you love us, can help us to feel less alone. We often don’t want to ask you whether you still love us for fear of coming across as needy, sometimes we need it to come from you.

It can often be hard to know what to do when a loved one is living with depression. At times it might feel as though we’re shutting you out. But sometimes it’s because we don’t know how to ask for what we need, and we need you to reach in.

Please help us to help others and share this post, you never know who might need it.