HELPING SOMEONE WITH DEPRESSION
HELPING SOMEONE WITH DEPRESSION
If someone you love is experiencing PND, the best thing you can do is to offer support. Give her a break from her childcare duties, provide a listening ear, and be patient and understanding. You also need to take care of yourself. Dealing with the needs of a new baby is hard for fathers as well as mothers.
How to help your wife/partner/family member:
- Encourage her to talk about her feelings. Listen to her without judging her or offering solutions. Instead of trying to fix things, simply be there for her to lean on.
- Offer help around the house. Help with the housework and childcare responsibilities. Don’t wait for her to ask!
- Make sure she takes time for herself. Rest and relaxation are important. Encourage her to take breaks, hire a babysitter, or schedule some date nights.
- Be patient if she’s not ready for sex. Depression affects sex drive, so it may be awhile before she’s in the mood. Offer her physical affection, but don’t push is she’s not up for sex.
- Go for a walk with her. Getting exercise can make a big dent in depression, but it’s hard to get motivated when you’re feeling low. Help her by making walks a daily ritual for the two of you.
It is important to understand that people cannot “snap out of” depression any more than they can “snap out of” diabetes.
The type of treatment that is best for you can depend on various things including:
Support groups are an enormously valuable form of support and treatment as they provide an opportunity for women to come together in a safe and supportive environment for mutual support. Often it is comforting to be with other mothers who feel like you do and are experiencing similar symptoms. Often being in a non-judgmental environment can help mothers to feel that they are not alone.
There are different types of support groups, some are facilitated by health care professionals while others such as Well Women Franklin are peer support groups.
A Peer Support Group is conducted by facilitators with a degree of expert knowledge, often who have experienced PND themselves. The mothers that attend such groups are experiencing PND and can offer parenting and emotional skills as well as support through the recovery process together.
Support groups do not suit all women with postnatal depression as not everyone is comfortable in a group setting.
Visiting a Counsellor or Psychotherapist can be beneficial, especially if a mother does not feel that they can benefit from a support group environment. A counsellor can provide an important part of recovery from antenatal and postnatal depression with the regular appointments allowing the mother time to focus on her, how she has been feeling and what is important to her recovery.
It is important to find someone who the mother feels comfortable with and who has the type of skills needed to help her. Counselling can help develop strategies for coping and managing anxiety.
There are many different counselling approaches including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT, family therapy, solution focused therapy, and psychoanalysis.
There are different types of counsellors including psychologists, counsellors, social workers, family therapists, psychotherapists, psychiatrists and general practitioners with counselling qualifications