Better Homes & Gardens - - Better -

If you sus­pect a loved one is strug­gling with de­pres­sion, ask how she’s feel­ing. “Of­ten, the per­son pulls away to process her emo­tions,” says Laurie Bar­rett of Pitts­burgh, who ex­pe­ri­ences de­pres­sion. “But this can quickly es­ca­late to lone­li­ness and iso­la­tion.”

The lan­guage you use is im­por­tant. Try some­thing like, “You seem bummed lately. Your en­ergy feels dif­fer­ent. I’ve no­ticed you can­cel­ing plans.

I’m not up­set but want to check in.” If she opens up about her de­pres­sion, sim­ply lis­ten. “Avoid say­ing things like ‘Stop be­ing so neg­a­tive’ or ‘It will pass.’ This can be dis­mis­sive and im­ply that de­pres­sion is a choice, which isn’t true,” says Don Morde­cai, M.D., na­tional leader for men­tal health and well­ness at Kaiser Per­ma­nente.

Try of­fer­ing con­crete help like “Can I come over and cook din­ner?” A general “Do you need help?” puts the bur­den on the per­son with de­pres­sion to think of an an­swer, adding more to her over­flow­ing plate.

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