There has always been a social stigma towards getting professional help for depression. When it comes to mental illnesses, society tends to be less forgiving. Let's look at it this way: We do not shun people who need to seek treatment for flu and fever, so why should depression be any different? Have we not progressed enough to open our hearts to those who sincerely need our help, but yet are afraid to do so because of being looked at differently? It is our ignorance and selfishness that is preventing us from reaching out.
Support and understanding is key. Many people delay seeking professional help with depression, either because they are ashamed, or feel that it is something normal that they can overcome themselves. Talk to the person, and encourage him/her to seek help. Explain that it is a medical condition, and nothing to be ashamed of. Express your willingness to help, and be there for them every step of the way.
Create a low stress environment for the person, taking care to remove any sources that may trigger unhappiness. Help create a regular routine so that he/she can feel more in control. Religion may also help to give the person the support and refuge he/she needs. Encourage the person to carry out activities he/she enjoys. Discreetly, find the root of the person's depression-this will go a long way towards aiding in recovery.
Also remember to take care of yourself-physically as well as emotionally. Taking care of a chronically depressed person can be very draining. Stay positive, and exercise patience. You need time off too!
Stay tuned for the next installment, coming soon!