5 months ago

Caring for Someone with Depression

Caring for Someone with Depression

Living with someone with depression can be difficult, just as it can be difficult to care for someone with any illness. To help cope with someone experiencing depression, at Carers Trust Scotland we have come up with a useful acronym (this just means each letter stands for a word) - CARER.

Check it out/ask

Actively listen/observe



Remember you!


C Check it Out This simply means taking the time to ask, or find out what is going on. Asking someone is giving them an invitation to talk to you. This might be enough for them to feel safe; it shows that you care what is going on with them. This can be really helpful for someone experiencing depression.

A Actively Listen Don’t judge the person. Their depression is not a sign of laziness or weakness - the person is unwell and trying to cope. Do not be critical or show frustration; they cannot help how they are feeling at this time. Try not to offer advice, such as ‘pull yourself together’ or ‘what have you to be depressed about’. Don’t get into arguments or confrontation with the person. Try and be patient with the person; they are already feeling a lot of guilt (as part of the depression), so don’t be too critical or blame them.

R Reassurance Remind the person they have a real illness - depression is a common illness, it is not being weak or lazy. Remind her/him that there are treatments available which can work. Depression can take time, but recovery is possible with the right help. Reassure the person you will support them (but you have to be sure you mean this).

E Encourage This might be around encouraging the person to seek professional help, such as seeing a GP, or it may be to encourage the person to try some self-help, such as support groups, relaxation or mindfulness techniques. Some of this treatment may include medication, talking therapy and telephone helplines. It is not about giving advice, but gently suggesting some things they could try. Give praise and encourage the person to try out small things which might make him/her feel better, such as going out for a walk, or listening to some music.

R Remember You! The last letter in CARER is perhaps the one most often ignored, and that is R – remembering to take time out for yourself as a carer. Supporting someone with depression or another mental health issue can leave you feeling frustrated, tired and upset. These are common reactions as you try to remain as positive and helpful as you can, but the person you care for may not show much appreciation and that can be really annoying. Taking time out to look after you really helps you to cope better with the situation, and to get on with your life.

It isn’t being selfish to want to do something that you enjoy. You need to look after yourself as well. Tell people you need to take time out, ask if there is someone else who can spend time with the person you care for, so that you can spend time with you. Do things which help keep your mood positive; do what makes you happy. Talking to other carers in similar situations can help.

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