According to a report in the Guardian, nearly a fifth of adults in the UK experience anxiety or depression at some point in their lives. But mental health problems aren't just an issue for those directly affected by them, they can also be a great source of worry for the friends and family of those with depression and anxiety. While in both cases it's important for the sufferer to seek medical help, there are some things you can do to support someone suffering from a condition like anxiety or depression. Here are just a few ideas.
While having your support will be of great help to your friend or family member, they may also need to speak to a doctor about what they're going through and possible treatments – after all, depression and anxiety are both medical conditions requiring medical care. They may feel uncomfortable about speaking to a doctor about their condition, so be sure to give them encouragement, but don't push or force them into going unless you have serious concerns for their safety.
Research has shown that talking therapies can be hugely effective in the treatment of depression and anxiety, but that doesn't just have to mean speaking to professionals – talking about feelings with friends and family can be of huge benefit to people suffering from depression and anxiety. Let your loved one know that you're there to listen whenever they need it. While you might not be able to offer any advice or solutions, just sharing the weight of their thoughts will probably go a long way to giving them some relief.
Health.com recommends inviting your depressed friend or family member out, or to join you in daily activities. People who are depressed tend to avoid socialising, which can make them feel lonely and isolated and worsen their depression. It can be difficult to break out of this cycle, so be aware that you might have to be very persistent in trying to get your friend to stay active. As Health.com recommends, take them to an activity that you think they'll be interested in, although bear in mind that it may take time for them to start enjoying it.