Encouraging the Depressed

If you know someone suffering from depression, you might try some of the following suggestions. Not every idea will be appropriate for every person, but the ones that are suitable will offer more hope than you can imagine.

Pray consistently. Don’t take personal responsibility for a depressed person. Rather, keep taking that person’s burden to God.

Stay connected. This isn’t always easy, especially when a person’s depression drags on. But a few minutes of focused listening and comforting is like concentrated love that will permeate your loved one’s life. Send occasional cards and notes that communicate, “I’m thinking of you.”

Suggest a thorough medical checkup. If medication is appropriate, you might help monitor any side effects. It’s often frightening to take mood-altering medications.

Suggest sound, competent Christian counseling. Medication can work wonders. Yet without counseling, it can mask problems. If you don’t know any counselors, speak with your pastor or call a dependable ministry.

Seek practical ways to help. Mow your friend’s lawn, pick up groceries, watch the children, or vacuum the house. These routine activities are often overwhelming to soSmeone struggling in depression’s sticky web.

Show up with goodies. I’ll never forget the “sunshine basket” a friend gave me during my depression. It was stuffed with sugarless gum, mints, potpourri, a paperback book, a decorating magazine, and a daily devotional guide.

Explore simple joys. Take a walk with your friend. Point out flowers, sunrises, sunsets, clouds, and indigo blue skies. A depressed person can be blind to beauty.

Speak wisely. Don’t ever tell a depressed person, “You shouldn’t feel like that.” It doesn’t help, and the person likely has been repeating that same litany for weeks.

Rhonda Reese
© 2006 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists