How to Support Your Family/Friend/Partner with Depression
1. Don’t ask them why they are depressed.
2. Do not say “if you change your mindset...”
3. Do not give advice. I promise, even if it comes from a good place, it will hurt them.
4. Do not say they must “snap out of it”.
5. Do not use religion to shame them.
6. Just listen and don't prescribe.
7. 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.
8. Read up multiple sources on mental illnesses (but do not act like you understand).
9. Keep checking up on them even if they don't reply.
10. Do not make them feel shit about cancelling on plans on the last minute because they are not well. (We are on lockdown anyway).
11. NB!!!! If you also suffer from a mental illness, do not use that to shame them, silence them or dictate how they should feel “because you also know how it feels”.
12. Set boundaries. You do not have to put up with any kind of abuse.
13. You DO NOT understand what they are going through.
14. They probably 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.
15. (I swear to God this is not funny) Do not call their medication “happy pills”. This is insensitive and hurtful.
*(This is not cast in stone. Different people require different support structures).
For more information, contact THE SOUTH AFRICAN DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY
GROUP @ The South African Depression and Anxiety Group and 0800 21 22 23