How To Help A Loved One That Is Depressed or Suicidal

Watching someone they love experience depression or suicidal thoughts can weigh heavily on support people such as family, friends and partners. Often, support people do not know what to do or say to help. This can lead to either the support person doing nothing out of fear of making the situation worse, or the support person actually making the situation worse by doing or saying something that is not helpful. I have created this list of things I find helpful during my depressive episodes. These might not be the best suggestions for everyone and the best advice I can give is to be direct and communicate with the person. Ask straight out “Are you suicidal?” “How can I be helpful to you?” “Is there anything I can do to help you feel better?”. Unfortunately, you might run into a brick wall here because often my answer is a resounding “No.” Just try to be gentle and remember even if it seems like it doesn’t, small things help and do matter.

Tidy Up
When feeling depressed or suicidal small tasks can seem impossible. Clean a room, do some dishes, or put fresh sheets on their bed. Having something they are typically responsible for done for them can be a huge weight off their shoulders.

Go Outside
Getting some time in nature can have a big impact on their mood. It may take some convincing, but see if you can get them to go for a walk or sit outside for a bit. If nothing else, open some windows and let the fresh air in.

Feed Them
When I am feeling my worst I quickly get into some awful eating habits. There’s a joke about depression meals, a handful of cheerios, microwaved whatever, or earlier this week’s cold left overs. For me, anything fast and easy is the go to. Try bringing some fresh fruit or their favorite salad. Or if you’re a chef, cook them something health.

Make a Bath
The nicest thing anyone has ever done for me when I was feeling depressed is make me a bath. It can be difficult to keep healthy hygiene habits when feeling this way and not only does a bath get them clean, it can be very relaxing. Throw in some essential oils for aromatherapy and put a towel in the dryer so they aren’t cold when they come out.

Laugh
Contrary to popular belief, you can be suicidal and simultaneously enjoy a good chuckle. Look up whatever videos will make them giggle on youtube, put on a comedy movie or try some stand up. You might even make some of those good-good neurochemically thingies.

Listen
Pour two cups of tea, coffee, mik, soup, whiskey, ice cream, whatever you fancy and lend your ear. Don’t judge, don’t give advice, don’t spew toxic positivity. Just listen.

What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you when you’re depressed or suicidal?

-DQ

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16 thoughts on “How To Help A Loved One That Is Depressed or Suicidal”

  1. Great article! And yes all these methods work really well when supporting someone who’s depressed or suicidal. It’s always good to keep in mind the best possible ways that we can use to help then when they are mentally down, so that our actions will truly help them to get stronger, rather than making them feel more left alone and depressed.

    Have a wonderful day ♥️✨

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A few years ago I started telling people to stop telling the depressed and suicidal that there are people in their life who will be hurt and miss them – this is not only not helpful but it takes the depressed down a darker road sometimes – Maybe I’ll blog about why that is sometime.
    Instead I have told people to tell the depressed and suicidal how valuable they are and that that value is intrinsic within them – that no one else has that certain magic. That the depressed person is worth love and loving that they are worthy of life and that life may need to work harder to be worth of them.
    Recently I had slipped into depression and they always feel like the worst one. This lasted and took a long time to bounce back into my preferred hypomania and light depression ping pong cycle. Anyway, I was deeply suicidal and had made plans, and I’m impulsive – a friend started calling me everyday and leaving messages with how much he loved me and how valuable my intrinsic nature was – his wording was always perfect and it gave me the courage to take another step.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ahhh it’s a rough time for all involved but all of these are little things that would really help me. I think partners feel frustrated that they can’t do something massive and ‘fix’ you and don’t realise how much these little things help.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is great, thank you for posting! For me, comedy and music are the best bet. Sometimes when I’m starting to feel depressed I also ask friends to tell me a story, any story, and this works wonders in keeping me grounded.

    Like

  5. Hello, For me it’s personal stuff – when my husband visited me in hospital he would bring a favourite hairbrush (bristle) and brush my hair. He still does it but now the brush is kept in his bedside drawer. He’ll make sure I have my special friend Norman, my much worn hedgehog soft toy. Here in Wales there’s a special word “cwtch” (pron. kooch) and it’s a very special hug. It was first described to us as the kind of hug your grandma would give you – enveloping, loving, that makes you feel like you’re the only one in the world for that person at that time. It’s even been prescribed by my psychologist for when I get an autism meltdown. As I say, special, personal stuff that reaches out without words. Love to you all.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lovely post. Such attuned compassion. Very helpful to provide support to and just be with someone in need.
    Just offering that non-judgement space can make all the difference.
    Peace and love,
    Spence 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. After my son was born I suffered a bout of depression. My gp was brilliant, she really listened, made time to hear me out and even called me at home to check on me. My family was supportive but she made all the difference because she believed that I would recover and fortunately I did. x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. An acquaintance once left a gift bag of bubble bath and a candle on my porch, when she knew I was depressed, after a miscarriage. Her note said something like, “I know this won’t fix everything for you, but maybe you can at least relax a little bit.” It meant all the more to me because we weren’t that close and she had no obligation to do it.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Good article that ended with a good question. I will have to think about the answer, but off the top of my head, having someone write me a text out of the blue to ask how I am doing is always nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. All great advice. I would agree that listening without judgement, and without trying to convince me that it was all in my imagination, that everything is fine etc, is one of the kindest things someone has done for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Both my 17 year old and myself deal with suicidal thoughts and tendencies. It’s a hard road since I have to not only be there for her but also for myself. It takes a lot out of me but I wouldn’t trade my baby girl for anything in the world. Like I tell her it’s because of her why I am still here. With my daughter drawing and writing helps a lot it takes her out of her thoughts. Great suggestions for those that feel lost or overwhelmed.

    Liked by 1 person

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