A persisting low mood, loss of interests, declining self-esteem and little energy to do things – it can happen to anyone. Depression is a common mental illness that affects about one in ten people in the UK, according to the NHS. Causes may vary, but one thing is certain: depression does not discriminate.
Unfortunately, people with depression are often misunderstood and have to deal with many hurtful comments about what is essentially an invisible but very serious illness. Nevertheless, a healthy support network can make a world of difference for a person with depression. So how can you help someone cope? And what should you most certainly not do?
I have drawn up a number of tips from years of dealing with depression. These include things people have said to me that were not helpful, and things people have done that were helpful. What I want to emphasise most of all is that depression can be very hard – not just on the person themselves, but also on their surroundings – but that you can help someone a long way even with the tiniest gestures.
Also, please always bear in mind that you are not a professional and it is not your job to “fix” the other person: all you can do is be there for them. At the bottom of this post I have listed some resources that can help when you or another person is having a hard time.