Supporting a loved one with depression can be challenging - being concerned for your loved one's overall wellbeing, and what the consequences of ignoring it, could be. It takes a lot out of a person to be vigilant about another's mental state, but that is what we do when we love someone. Knowing a companion, or a friend or family member, has depression and being there to support them in the right ways is extremely important to that person's growth.
Being there for your loved one in the right way, is just as important as not being there in the wrong way. Often times, we say things like "just stop ____" or "think about ___ instead", but the reality is that depression is not just a switch that can be turned on and off. Minimizing it to something so simple as 'just chill out' is going to make your loved one feel small, and invalidated in their suffering.
Since we definitely don't want to do that, let's go over some key steps to supporting your loved one the right way.
Do some research
Learning the signs and symptoms of depression, as well as getting yourself acquainted with the concepts and ideas behind why depression is happening, is super important to make sure that you are there for your loved one. If you have never experienced depression, you can't relate to what someone who is diagnosed is going through. Nothing feels the same, or can be explained the same. If you are one of those people who hasn't been diagnosed, the next best thing to understand your loved one's plight is to do the research. A few examples of symptoms are:
excessive tiredness/never sleeping
feeling of worthlessness, hopelessness, unending sadness
lack of interest in plans with friends, leaving the house, favorite tv shows
change in diet (eating either more or less)
loss of interest in sex
trouble concentrating, thinking, and remembering
It is important to pay attention to not only the mental health symptoms, but the physical symptoms as well. Depression eats away at your willingness to do anything. This includes drink water, eat food, rest - most of the physical requirements for survival! You can't get inside a person's head and change their chemical makeup, but you can make sure they are taken care of with water and snacks during a depressive episode.