Many people experience depression at some point in their lifetime. No matter what the reason or situation, depression is a very tough thing to experience. If you’re watching a loved one go through it, you may feel powerless—but there are things you can do to help.
First, offer your support without criticism, tough love or judgment. Offering to lend an ear and be there is a good thing—saying things like, “I don’t know what you have to be sad about” is not. Depression is a chemical imbalance that has little to do with the person’s place in life. Second, avoid offering unsolicited advice. If you had good luck with a specific mental health therapist or medication yourself, it’s fine to share your story—and if they ask you for a recommendation of a good counseling center, by all means, provide one. But everyone’s path is different, and your main role is just to be there emotionally and provide companionship.
Most importantly, be patient. By practicing patience, you’re letting your loved one know that it doesn’t matter how long their road to recovery is or how difficult it will be. Patience has a powerful result: it brings hope, which is hard to come by in the throes of depression.