Even though most of us don’t think twice about visiting a doctor for an ailment like the common flu, people dealing with depression symptoms tend to take much longer to seek help. This is because people with depression or their immediate family may not actually be aware that the signs and symptoms. Secondly, there is a social stigma regarding depression and mental illness in our country. It still remains a topic that people avoid discussing in public for fear of coming off as unstable, unreliable, or weak. Anxiety, depression, suicide, substance abuse are the major challenges that youth are facing today.
De-stigmatising depression begins with the understanding that depression is a medical condition much like the stomach flu or even a chronic illness such as hypertension, and people who have depression do not choose to be afflicted. Raising awareness and educating people will help create a mindset shift and change the cultural norm. There are ways to cure depression and early intervention is one of the keys to effective treatment.
Family support - As they live in close proximity, parents and siblings should be the first to notice any marked changes in behavior, personality, or appearance of their loved ones. As family members are closest to the person with depression, they should initiate treatment and encourage those afflicted to get help.
Friends and peers support – If any of your friends are turning down too many invitations, has trouble sleeping, low mood, is absent for many days in school or the workplace, these are the red flags of depression. Do conversate with them, try to reach them, talk to them, understand them, listen to them, encourage them. All this will help your friend in overcoming depression.
Community support - With the social stigma tied to mental illness, people with depression can seek professional help, can go to counselors, experts, psychologists.
Here are some practical ways with which you can help a loved one overcome depression:
Exercise — physical activity aids in relaxation and one will feel more positive if one is fit. Exploring interests — pursuing hobbies helps one to break the monotony and also encourage relaxation. Going on a break — taking some time out can help one to get out of a rut and return feeling more refreshed.
Encourage them to get appropriate professional help.
Be patient, understanding, and empathetic.
Support healthy living habits such as: