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  • Writer's pictureHolly Essler

Supporting Loved Ones Through Anxiety and Depression: What to Say and Do

Here are some coping skills for anxiety and depression. Supporting a loved one through anxiety and depression can be challenging, but it's essential to be patient, compassionate, and understanding. Here are some ways to help:

  1. Educate Yourself: Learn about anxiety and depression to understand what your loved one is going through. This knowledge will help you provide better support.

  2. Offer a Listening Ear: Encourage open communication and actively listen without judgment. Sometimes, just talking about their feelings can provide relief.

  3. Avoid Judgment: Never belittle or dismiss their feelings. Avoid saying things like "snap out of it" or "it's all in your head."

  4. Be Patient: Recovery from anxiety and depression takes time. Be patient and understanding of their progress, which may have ups and downs.

  5. Encourage Professional Help: Suggest therapy or counseling and offer assistance in finding a suitable mental health professional. Accompany them to appointments if needed.

  6. Help with Daily Tasks: Depression can make even simple tasks seem overwhelming. Offer to help with chores, errands, or cooking to alleviate some of their stress.

  7. Promote Self-Care: Encourage self-care activities like exercise, a healthy diet, regular sleep, and relaxation techniques. Join them in these activities when possible.

  8. Respect Their Boundaries: Be mindful of their need for space and boundaries. Let them decide when and how they want to talk or interact.

  9. Stay Connected: Keep in touch regularly, even if it's just a brief check-in via text or a phone call. Loneliness can worsen depression, so your presence matters.

  10. Reduce Stressors: Help them identify and manage stressors in their life. This could involve problem-solving or finding ways to reduce unnecessary stress.

  11. Offer Emotional Support: Let them know you're there for them emotionally, and reassure them that their feelings are valid.

  12. Plan Social Activities: Encourage them to engage in social activities they used to enjoy, even if they initially resist. Offer to accompany them to make it easier.

  13. Stay Informed About Medication: If your loved one is taking medication, be informed about their medication regimen and any potential side effects.

  14. Be Mindful of Triggers: Learn about their triggers and try to create a supportive environment that minimizes exposure to those triggers.

  15. Model Healthy Coping Strategies: Show them how you cope with stress in healthy ways, which can be a positive example for them.

  16. Offer Encouragement: Provide words of encouragement and remind them of their strengths and past successes.

  17. Be Their Advocate: If necessary, help them navigate the healthcare system, insurance, or any other bureaucratic hurdles that may arise during treatment.

  18. Seek Support for Yourself: Caring for someone with anxiety or depression can be emotionally taxing. It's essential to seek support for yourself through friends, family, or a support group.

  19. Understand Relapses: Be prepared for relapses. It's common for individuals with anxiety and depression to have setbacks in their recovery journey.

  20. Emergency Planning: If your loved one is at risk of self-harm or suicide, seek immediate professional help or contact emergency services. Your loved one's safety should be the top priority.

Remember that you're not a replacement for professional mental health treatment. Encourage your loved one to seek help from a qualified therapist or psychiatrist, as therapy and, if needed, medication can be essential components of recovery from anxiety and depression.

Holly Essler (2023, September 5). Supporting Loved Ones Through Anxiety and Depression: What to Say and Do. Retrieved from

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