How to support your family member/friend/partner with depression:
- Don’t ask them why they are depressed.
- Do not say “if you change your mindset …”
- Do not give advice. I promise, even if it comes from a good place, it will hurt them.
- Do not say they must ‘snap out of it’.
- Do not use religion to shame them.
- Just listen and don’t prescribe.
- Offer to do laundry, house chores or make them a meal (but do not force it). Most depressed people are not lazy, they are depressed.
- Read up on multiple sources of mental illness (but do not at like you understand).
- Keep checcking up on them even if they don’t reply back.
- Do not make them feel shit about cancelling plans at the last minute because they are not well.
- NB!!! If you also have a mental illness, do not use that to shame them or silence them or dictate how they should feel “because you also know how it feels”.
- Set boundaries. You do not have to put with any kind of abuse.
- You DO NOT understand what they are going through.
- They propably have been shamed a million times for “being weak” or “lazy” or “full of excuses” or “having white people’s problems”. Be careful how you respond to them when they talk about their depression.
- (I swear to God this is not funny). Do not call their medication “happy pills”. This is insensitive and hurtful.
(Obviously, this is not cast in stone. different people require different support structures).
This post was written by the courageous and unbelievably strong, Wanelisa Xaba.