How to write depression
SAMHSA’s National Helpline | SAMHSA
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SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
Also visit the online treatment locator.
SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.
Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.
The service is open 24/7, 365 days a year.
English and Spanish are available if you select the option to speak with a national representative. Currently, the 435748 (HELP4U) text messaging service is only available in English.
In 2020, the Helpline received 833,598 calls. This is a 27 percent increase from 2019, when the Helpline received a total of 656,953 calls for the year.
The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.
The service is confidential. We will not ask you for any personal information. We may ask for your zip code or other pertinent geographic information in order to track calls being routed to other offices or to accurately identify the local resources appropriate to your needs.
No, we do not provide counseling. Trained information specialists answer calls, transfer callers to state services or other appropriate intake centers in their states, and connect them with local assistance and support.
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For additional resources, please visit the SAMHSA Store.
Last Updated: 08/30/2022
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How to talk about your depression
September 26, 2021 Books
The help of loved ones will definitely come in handy.
Telling family about the problem is an important step on the road to recovery. This is not easy to do, but asking for help and attention is very important. The advice of Cindy Stolberg and Ronald Frey, two clinical psychologists with 20 years of experience, will help you find the right words.
In the book “I feel better. Interpersonal Therapy Against Depression, the authors answer basic questions about depression and talk about practical techniques that will help you feel better. With the permission of Alpina Publisher, Lifehacker publishes an excerpt from the first chapter. nine0003
If you haven't talked about your depression so far, now is the time to share the burden. By telling others about your time constraints, you are more likely to receive support and more advice on how to deal with it. Thanks to your frankness, others may also share experiences that you might not know about. It won't be so lonely.
It is normal to feel awkward, fearful, and anxious about telling the truth about yourself. For many of us, including myself, self-esteem is closely linked to the need to look like everything is in order (this is typical for professionals in the helping professions; we help others, but we do not always know how to help ourselves). If you are used to being able to do anything, it can be embarrassing to admit to others that you are having a hard time. Plus, if you've never asked for help before, you may not know that someone else might be offering it. nine0003
First, recognize that strength is not always about being strong. Then imagine a different future where people help each other more often. Many who have been helped by you will want to help in return. Let them do it.
You don't have to tell everyone you're depressed. Share with one or two people who you think will understand you. It doesn't hurt to discuss your feelings with someone you trust. Then you will have a general idea of how the disease affects your body and soul, and you will understand each other. Tell the interlocutor that you are trying your best to improve your well-being. Explain that you need to take time off work to find the time and energy to recover. Reassure: "This is temporary." Make sure you're worried and listen to what they tell you. nine0003
Trust that when you share depression problems with someone you trust, you are acknowledging that you are human; it can make your relationship stronger.
Someone will really understand you. Someone may offer help (do not refuse!). Someone will not succeed: you will feel that a person is trying, but it is difficult for him. If it's your loved one or colleague, try letting them read this chapter. Of course, if a person does not like to read, you cannot force him. Just show him the most important, like a cut of the best moments of a football match. He will understand that you are taking this data from a reliable source - from a book, but he will not have to read it. nine0003
Unfortunately, you will not get support from some, and this cannot be changed. But at least you will know who not to contact next time. Try not to judge those who have not shown understanding. Perhaps they can help not with words, but with deeds: for example, fixing your car or babysitting. People with depression often stop communicating with others.
Isolation can be aggravated by moving to another city, the birth of a child, frequent business trips of a husband or wife, lack of support. For example, it was difficult for John to admit to himself that he was depressed: this would mean that he had failed again, because that was what all his friends and family inspired in him. How to tell about your illness to those because of whom you consider yourself inferior? nine0003
If, like John, you feel like you can't talk to anyone about your depression, we encourage you to find someone to open up to. John overcame his pride and told about his feelings to one of the brothers, the most sympathetic. He explained how he felt, told how he was trying to recover. The brother expected to hear from John what he had heard many times: “if only I had a girlfriend…”, “all because of this job”, “I just don’t have enough money”, “if I finished school…”, “ I don’t live with my parents ... ”, - and was pleasantly surprised when there were no“ old songs ”. He even praised John for the first time in his life - for his efforts. nine0003
Often our words are unconvincing, not because of what we say, but because of how we say them. To notice patterns in how we talk to people, you need to understand yourself, but this makes sense. John, for example, noticed how he loves to make excuses for himself and blame others. You will also notice that, by changing the manner of communication, you realized that you have someone to turn to. This won't happen overnight, but now is the time to start.
Try this. You can always find someone to talk to. Maybe you just haven't found it yet. nine0003
You may not have anyone to “talk about your depression” to if your family or community is embarrassed (and therefore forbidden) to talk about mental illness. You may worry that if your depression becomes known, it could affect your future. Rest assured, you will still find someone to talk to, just not in your usual social circle. Perhaps this is not a close friend or acquaintance, or perhaps a specialist.
Believe me, sometimes you feel deprived of all support, not because of what you say, but because of how. nine0003
We'll give you tips on how to start a conversation about your depression with your spouse, relatives, friends, or bosses and how to mention that you're going to have to let go of some commitments.
What to say to your husband or wife
- “I know I've been in a bad mood lately, but you have nothing to do with it. I seem to be depressed. I'm trying to figure it out so I can get better. It may not be easy to understand, especially with all the worries you have, but I want you to know that I am doing my best." nine0049
- “Yes, I usually clean the table after dinner and take the kids to class, but I get very tired at work. Depression sucks all the juice out of me, and I need to focus on recovery. Let's figure out how to relax in the evenings for both of us?
- “I don't have the strength to keep the house clean, but if everything is in order, then my mood will be better. Maybe we can hire a housekeeper for a few months?”
What to say to a friend or girlfriend
- “Sorry we don't see each other anymore. You are nothing. I have mood problems, I try to solve them. I'm not angry with you and still want to communicate. I hope to feel better soon. I'll keep you informed". nine0049
What to tell relatives
- “I know that you are worried about me, I really appreciate your concern. I have problems with work, I'm at zero. Let's not go into details, but if you can pick up the kids for a couple of hours this Sunday afternoon, that would help me a lot."
- “It's clear that you have a lot to do, but I already miss talking to you. There is nothing better than a dinner together this week, and even more so if you bring a treat. I will be very grateful if we can do it soon.” nine0049
What to say to a teenager
- “You will be surprised, but I really don't like to nag you. I know sometimes I go crazy over the little things. Understand, I love you and I understand that you are just a teenager. Sometimes it's hard for me to cope with my mood, and I want you to know that I do my best. I will try to argue less and find fault with you.”
What to tell your boss
- “I was at the doctor's office. I am depressed. My life is changing, so I will try to get better as soon as possible. The doctor advises to discuss with you the possibility of vacation or time off until I feel better. nine0049
Hey! Can you hear me?
We are not always answered the way we would like. For example, one morning Ana decides while the baby is sleeping to write a letter to her husband Peter. It seems wiser to do this after resting a bit than to wait for Peter to get home from work and she will be too tired and irritated to have a constructive dialogue. In addition, while writing, it is easier to collect your thoughts and not forget anything.
Ana begins the letter by confessing to Peter that she loves him and that it has been hard for her since the birth of her child. She talks about the feelings she experiences: sadness, self-contempt, guilt, worthlessness, absent-mindedness, irritability - and explains that depression is the reason for everything. She knows he's getting tired too, but she's hoping for some extra help from him, just for a little while while she works to improve her well-being. nine0003
Peter reads the letter in the evening of the same day, hugs Anna tightly, says how glad she is to tell him about her feelings, but is in no hurry to fulfill the request for help. Ana decides not to make a problem out of it: perhaps he didn't know what to do or say.
Over the next week, she notices that nothing has changed for Peter. He also demands dinner as soon as he gets home, and buries his nose in the newspaper instead of picking up his daughter. He doesn't even put the dishes in the dishwasher. Ana feels displeasure build up in her. Didn't she do everything right? Didn't she talk about the manifestations of depression and attempts to recover, didn't she ask for help, didn't she add that it was temporary? nine0003
Yes, Ana did everything right. But, if we are talking about spouses (as, indeed, about other family members), one letter may not be enough to discuss all issues and solve all problems. Relationships are a living process, and intimate relationships often follow a set pattern. You can't change it right away.
Trust me, you may need to talk to the other person a few times, especially your spouse, before you figure out how best to help them. Be patient and objective. Maybe you should give your husband or wife a chapter to read. nine0003
Anya needs to keep talking to her husband. Claims in the spirit of “well, you are a boor, why don’t you help, did you ask?” won't help, even if that's what she feels. You can say, “Peter, I appreciate that you are concerned about my well-being. If we want me to get better, do some housework yourself when you get back from work.” No apologies, no aggression: just a polite, respectful request for help.
Be patient, be constructive, keep trying. If you cannot achieve results on your own, you can always invite your husband or wife to go with you to a doctor's appointment. The opinion of a specialist can help add weight to your request for help. You can also turn to another family member or to understanding friends. What will they offer? nine0003
I Feel Better is a step-by-step guide to overcoming depression. The tests proposed by the authors will help you understand yourself, and the prepared exercises will help you cope with difficult life circumstances.
Buy the book
Read also 🧐
- 15 things not to say to people with depression
- How to Recognize Alcoholism, Depression and Other Mental Disorders
- Depression Has No Face: Why People Smile Even When It's Hard
Depressed partner support
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders, affecting more than 350 million people of all age groups.
Every year about 150 million people in the world lose their ability to work due to depression
The support of family and friends is essential in the treatment of mental disorders. However, depression can negatively impact relationships and leave loved ones feeling helpless, frustrated, or afraid. nine0003
There are ways people can support a partner with depression on their journey to recovery.
Questions to ask about symptoms
To understand the severity of a person's depression, it is helpful to study how these symptoms affect their life.
Asking about symptoms also shows a person that his partner is interested in his feelings and experiences.
Useful questions to ask include:
- Can you help me understand how you feel?
- What activities do you find enjoyable right now?
- Do you enjoy spending time with other people?
- What's wrong with your energy?
- Do you sleep more or less than usual?
- Do you eat more or less than usual?
- Can you focus on things right now?
- Do you have thoughts of death or suicide? nine0049
Questions to avoid
Avoid asking questions that seem judgmental or that place blame on the person with depression. They may already be blaming themselves for their symptoms and need support rather than further judgment.
It is also important not to oversimplify depression, which is a serious illness.
Examples of questions to avoid include:nine0047
1. Learn about depression
Learning about depression can make it easier to support those with depression. Learning about symptoms often helps people recognize symptoms in their loved ones.
Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may change over time. However, symptoms must last at least 2 weeks before a doctor can diagnose depression.
Symptoms of depression may include:
- feelings of sadness, worthlessness or guilt
- loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
- changes in appetite or weight
- changes in sleep habits
- fatigue and loss of energy
- difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- thoughts of death or suicide
2. Understand and acknowledge your partner's feelings
It is important to listen to a person with depression and express empathy, which is the ability to understand and share other people's feelings. One way to show empathy is to mirror what the person is saying. nine0003
For example, if he says, "I just feel like things will never get better," their partner might reflect this by saying, "that sounds like you're not looking forward to the future."
Constant attempts to cheer up a person are useless, as this devalues his condition and feelings. Phrases like “tomorrow will be better” or “try to cheer up” do not take into account the nature of the disease.
3. Ask your partner what they want from you
To show further understanding and support, ask the person what they need. He may need:
- medication reminders
- company when visiting a doctor or visiting therapy
- homemade dishes
- encouragement to socialize or exercise
- hug or hold the hand
- to be left alone sometimes
Useful questions to ask include:
- How can I help you?
- Would it be helpful if I...?
4. Encourage your partner to heal
Depression can cause a person to lose their motivation, which can be a barrier to seeking treatment. However, most people with depression need treatment to get better.
Those who support someone with depression can play an important role in their recovery by encouraging them to seek medical help. nine0003
To inspire a partner to seek treatment, a person can try:
- joint detection and documentation of your partner's symptoms
- expression of desire to help
- discussion of treatment options such as medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes
- accompaniment to doctor appointments
5. Support your partner during recovery
Recovery from depression can sometimes be difficult. To support a partner in the recovery process:
- help them keep track of their prescriptions and medications
- do some physical exercise together
- plan and prepare healthy meals together
- try to reduce stressors at home
- make your goals small and achievable nine0048 encourage them to socialize with other people
- plan fun activities together
- pay attention to the person's progress towards recovery
- avoid imposing treatment on a person
Let your partner know they are not alone when you say:
- I'm here for you.
- We'll deal with this together.
6. Accept that there will be bad days
People with depression have good days and bad days. To cope with bad days:
- expect them to happen
- understand that this is a normal part of depression
- don't give up love and support at this time
- take some time and do something nice, either alone or with others
- remember that not every day will be like this - there will be good days
7. Take care of yourself
When a person supports a partner with depression, it is very important to take the time to enjoy hobbies and other activities for yourself.
Caring for a partner with depression can be draining, frustrating, and intimidating.
Research shows that having a spouse with depression increases a person's risk of developing depressive symptoms. This risk is especially high when a man is supportive of a depressed woman. nine0003
Those caring for someone with a mental illness should also take care of their own mental health. They can do it:
- trying to stay positive
- having realistic expectations about the recovery process
- knowing that they also have the right to be heard and respected
- taking time out and doing pleasurable activities and hobbies
- interacting with people other than their partner
- seeking help from friends or relatives
- doing regular exercise
- eating healthy
- trying to get more sleep and rest
- visiting a psychologist or psychological support groups
Professional treatment is an important part of the recovery process. The first step is often to see a doctor, who can recommend treatment, psychotherapy, or both. nine0003
For particularly severe depressive symptoms or in life-threatening situations, seek emergency care.
Beginning of form
People with depression may be at risk of suicide. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, more than half of those who die by suicide suffer from major depression.
Partners of those who suffer from depression should be aware of the warning signs of suicide so that they can take prompt action if necessary. Warning signs include:
- talking about death or suicide
- having a suicide plan
- preparation of means of suicide, e.g. collection of pills
- preparation for death, e.g. by making a will
- distribution of things
- farewell to family and friends
- engaging in risky or reckless behavior
- extreme changes in mood or personality nine0048 withdrawal from society
If a person suspects that someone is in imminent danger of suicide, they should seek emergency help.
If someone believes that a loved one is contemplating suicide but is not in immediate danger, they should contact the person's doctor and seek support from other family members or a support group.