Depression impacts 1 in 5 Australians at some stage during their lifetime and it is often difficult to know how to help someone who needs treatment for depression. The depression may be a reaction to a negative life event, for example the loss of a job, however it may also be a more severe clinical depression.
Whatever the person’s depression stems from, being a carer of someone who is experiencing depression can be challenging.
5 Goals for Caring for Someone with Depression
Although the caring role may be difficult there are several important goals to keep in mind if you find yourself in this position.
Goal 1 – Develop an empathic and trusting relationship
The first and possibly the most important goal is to develop (if one does not already exist) an empathic and trusting relationship with the person you are caring for. If the person experiencing depression does not trust that you understand, or at least attempt to understand the way that they are feeling, the caring relationship will be more difficult for you and for them.
Goal 2 – Promote problem solving and coping mechanisms
Promote problem solving and coping mechanisms and encourage skills that allow the person to feel effective and still have some control over outcomes in their life. This encourages a sense of empowerment and fosters a positive self regard in the person experiencing depression.
Goal 3 – Encourage engagement
Encourage the person to engage with support networks. This may be friends, family, community or therapeutic supports. When someone is experiencing depression, withdrawal from their usual contact with others is common. However, maintaining these contacts has many benefits and encourages the person to remain open to help when it is needed.
Goal 4 – Effectively collaborate
Effective collaboration, whether it is between the persons GP, mental health counsellor, psychologist or other support mechanisms, ensures effective communication. This helps everyone involved in caring for the person experiencing depression to be on the same page, meaning recovery sooner rather than later is more likely.
Goal 5 – Care for yourself
While being in the caring role don’t forget to take time to care for yourself. Ensuring your own needs are met means you are able to continue effectively supporting the person experiencing depression. If you feel that you need support yourself, speaking to a counsellor or therapist can be of benefit.
Article By: Vision Counselling and Psychology, Perth, Western Australia
Web Address: www.visioncounselling.com.au
Published: 26/11/2015 “Caring for a Person Experiencing Depression”, (Queensland Mind Essentials), Available: http://www.health.qld.gov.au/mentalhealth/docs/depression.pdf (Accessed: 2015, January 06).
“Caring for Someone”, (Beyond Blue), Available: http://www.beyondblue.org.au/resources/family-and-friends/caring-for-someone-with-depression-or-anxiety (Accessed, 2015, January 06). Image Reference: Dollar Photo Club