Is there anything we can do to help a family member who suffers from depression?
Helping your family member seek treatment is one of the more important ways to assist. Many individuals have difficulty taking the first step of making an appointment with a mental health practitioner. If the person is already in treatment, helping him or her remember the appointments and providing encouragement to stay in the treatment will be of tremendous help. Accompanying your family member to any appointments to provide feedback to the clinician can be of help, as some depressed persons have difficulty noting either improvements or setbacks in their condition.
If on medication, assistance and reminders to take medication are useful, as a lack in compliance with medication is a common reason for relapse. If there is reason to believe that someone is suicidal, it is critical to seek assistance as soon as possible. If a depressed family member refuses to get assistance, it is prudent to call the local authorities, such as emergency medical services, to have the individual evaluated in the emergency room setting. Although this option is not always well received by the person involved, it is the best and may be the only choice if someone is at risk for killing himself or herself.