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How do you help those who are Suffering?

There are challenges when you love someone who has mental health difficulties. Supporting them can feel like you're getting nowhere and sometimes caregivers develop their own mental health issues along the way. There are two main components of this 1) Continuing to show up and 2) knowing your limitations. The first part addresses how important it is to remind your loved ones that their depression/addiction/disorder is a health issue and it isn't their whole identity, you love them for all that they are and will sail through the storm with them.

Using open ended questions like:

“How are you doing lately?”

“Are you struggling with anything? Can I help you?”

“You just don’t seem like yourself lately. Is everything okay?”

“Focus on specific behaviors so your friend doesn’t feel judged,” says Valerie Cordero, co-executive director of Families for Depression Awareness.

“You want to try as much as possible to not put them on the defensive, and give them an opportunity to respond.”

Examples include: “You used to love our nights out, but it seems like you’re not interested in coming anymore. Is something going on? Do you want to talk about it?”

“I know you got a raise recently, which probably came with a bunch of new responsibilities, and I’ve noticed you seem stressed out. Do you think you might be depressed?”

The second part speaks to "know thyself" and your limitations. Even if you are a trained professional, it's important to know where your level of competency is and thay it's important that you're never the only person someone is speaking to. Make sure the responsibility is shared with others, either another loved one, their family member or a health professional.



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