Helping Someone with Depression/Anxiety

Aware NI

Depression and anxiety are the most common of all mental health disorders affecting one in four of us in a lifetime.

Signs of Depression

Depression affects people in a variety of ways but the symptoms can usually be grouped under four headings:

1) Thinking

They may think things like “I’m useless, nothing ever goes right, life isn’t worth living”. They might find it hard to concentrate or make decisions

2) Feelings

They might feel unhappy, worried, guilty, angry

3) Behaviour

They may cry a lot, avoid people, forget things, eat more or less, hurt themselves, misuse alcohol and/or drugs

4) Physical Symptoms

They may experience aches & pains in their body, feel tired, have no energy, put on weight or lose weight

Signs of an Anxiety Disorder

As with depression, the signs of anxiety can be grouped under the same four headings:

Thinking

They may think things like ‘something bad is going to happen’, ‘I won’t be able to cope’, or ‘I feel bad so it must be bad’

Feelings

Anxious, fearful, worried, nervous, restless, agitated

Behaviour

Avoiding certain people, places, situations; not going out; only going to places at certain times or only going with someone else or leaving early; increased use of alcohol or drugs

Physical symptoms

Headaches, muscle and/or chest pain, sweating, tingling, numbness, shaking, dizziness, rapid or shallow breathing, rapid heartbeat or palpitations, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea

Each person is likely to be affected differently and have more problems with some symptoms than others.

Help/treatment for depression and/or anxiety

The two main treatments are talking therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and self-help. Medication (anti-depressants) is effective for moderate/severe depression or when depression is accompanied by anxiety.

How you can help

As a carer, you may at times feel both hopeless and helpless in the face of your loved one’s illness but depression and anxiety are treatable and the vast majority of people make a full recovery. With a good understanding of the illness you can play an important part in this. Through a well informed, caring and supportive approach carers can, working alongside the person who is ill and their doctor, speed recovery, prevent relationship and family
breakdown and
avoid other potentially negative consequences of the illness such as unemployment, alcohol abuse, financial difficulties or even suicide.

The following tips will be helpful:

  • Encourage them to tell you how they feel 

  • Try to be a good listener – even if you hear 
the same thing several times 

  • Remind them that depression is treatable 
and is not their fault 

  • Keep reassuring them that they will get 
better 

  • Encourage them to get some regular 
exercise and to eat a balanced diet 

  • Encourage them to practice relaxation 
techniques 

  • Encourage them to see their GP. Offer to 
accompany them to appointments to help them describe their symptoms, or ask any questions they may have, but it’s also important that they have time with the GP on their own 

  • Help them to avoid alcohol, or at least keep it within safe limits 

  • Encourage them to reduce their intake of caffeine if they have anxiety 

  • Take them seriously if they talk about feeling hopeless or suicidal and seek professional help straight away (see below) 


How you may be affected

Caring for someone with depression or anxiety can be difficult, stressful and lonely, but help and support are available

You may feel:


  • impatient with the person’s behaviour
  • exhausted by listening and caring

  • isolated from your friends

You may worry about:


  • losing the person you knew

  • coping and asking for help

  • the future, including money problems
  • stigma – what other people might be
  • thinking or saying

  • the person’s safety and the risk of suicide

Taking care of yourself

  • Share your worries with trusted friends and family members – but do respect the person’s right to privacy
  • Call Aware for information and support
  • Don’t struggle on alone; ask for help when you feel you need it
  • Make time for yourself and leisure activities
  • Make sure you eat well and get enough exercise

  • Go and see your own doctor if you find it hard to sleep or are anxious or depressed
  • Ask if a family support worker is available

Lifeline is a telephone help and counselling service for anyone in distress or despair. It is available 24/7 and is free from mobiles. Trained counsellors, experienced in issues such as depression, self- harm and suicide will listen and give confidential help and support. They can give immediate support, offer a face-to-face appointment, or signpost you to other services in your area.

Call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000.

Alternatively, you could call your GP, the out-of-hours GP service, or emergency services on 999.

Useful resources

These five directories list the names, numbers and web addresses (where applicable) of...
The EA currently have 162 staff on our Mental Health First Aider network. The Mental...
Inspire Workplaces (one of the new names for Carecall and EAP Consultants), is a leading...
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), developed by Professor Paul Gilbert OBE, is a...
Sourcing and supporting employment opportunities, training and/or voluntary placements...
Action Mental Health is one of the ChatPal Project Team Members working to develop and...
This is aimed at the over 55’s and is delivered to groups in community settings. The...
There are a number of health campaigns throughout the year to raise awareness of...
This is delivered to the general adult population, including those affected by depression...
First aid as we know it is the help given to an injured person before medical treatment...
Well mind is a workshop which focuses on recognising the triggers of stress and the...
Our support groups offer a safe space for people aged 18+ to share experiences of anxiety...
AMH New Life Counselling provides high quality counselling services and is part of Action...
AMH Promote provides opportunities for adults with a learning disability to be socially...
This is delivered to expectant mothers & parents of babies under 3 years of age. It...
This includes: Raising awareness of depression and Aware NI services at a wide range of...
AMH EveryBODY aims to promote greater understanding and awareness of eating disorders. We...
Back to Life, Back to Normality is a free 12-week mental health programme delivered by...
Beyond Bricks is Lego® Based Play that uses a 'recovery to discovery' approach to enhance...
Tailored activities to support positive mental health and emotional wellbeing. MensSana,...
Belfast Resource Centre offers many opportunities including social and leisure activities...
Anxiety can affect anyone at any time, however, students often experience additional...
It is estimated that the overall prevalence of mental health conditions in Northern...
Free access to eBooks, audiobooks and eMagazines - available to download on your device...
Supporting veterans at risk of suicide across Northern Ireland. Exposure to line of duty...
MindWise is delighted to offer employers an opportunity to train their staff as Mental...
Since 2010 Action Mental Health has been successfully delivering Chronic Pain/Conditions...
Libraries NI can provide a free Homecall service to your home if you have significant...
Link & Learns are bite size, topical learning sessions for your employees, delivered...
CBT involves examining your thoughts, feelings and behaviour patterns, and working out...
Be Mindful is an online course that uses mindfulness techniques like meditation,...
The OUR Generation project is a Peace IV funded project that provides a unique...
Our team of facilitators have extensive knowledge and experience in the field of Mental...
Advanced Diploma in Mental Health and Wellbeing Coaching This virtual training programme...
Mindfulness is a form of meditation with its roots in Buddhism. It helps you develop...
Everyone’s mental health and emotional well-being is important and many different issues...
Clinical hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis for the treatment and alleviation of a...
We’ve gathered useful advice, information and help for young people aged 8-25 and those...
AMH Works provide specialised mental wellbeing training and consultancy to tackle...
Mood Matters Young People programme is aimed at 14-18 year olds and gives them knowledge...
This programme is a six week training programme for groups of adults and focuses on...
This idea is a walk in the park. It really is that simple, post a news item to see how...
Positive Minds for Premature Parents supports families of premature babies to develop and...
This supportive behaviour change programme motivates individuals who are ready to make...
AWARE also offers an online support group service. The groups provide an opportunity to...
The British Red Cross is helping people connect with their local communities, meet new...
MindWise are proud to be the only membership-led mental health organisation in Northern...
This is a six-session programme using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) concepts – the...
AMH New Horizons provides a comprehensive programme of specialist training in: Personal...
We have a wealth of experience in delivering training and consultancy services to a wide...
WiseTalking is a pilot Talking Therapies service for children and young people who are...
A project for men aged 50+ to share skills, socialise and connect with their wider...
The Community Care and Support Service is open to individuals over the age of 18 years...
Our Talking Therapies Practice offers individuals a range of psychological interventions...
Helping employees become more resilient, by giving them the skills to reframe negative...
Counselling is a form of talking therapy that allows you to speak openly about your...
From books and magazines to local history resources, Libraries NI has a host of fabulous...
A partnership, led by AMH, who worked with 8 leading charities to improve mental health...
Bloom is a UK-wide programme which supports young people’s mental health resilience,...
You must download the Libby app to continue to access the eMagazine and eNewspaper...
Stress doesn’t just make you feel bad – it can also be bad for your health. The good news...
It’s an easy to follow programme known the world over, and perfect for those new to...
Learn to manage negative thoughts and look at problems differently
Moodpath: Depression and Anxiety is a written mood journal that uses progress reports and...
Personalised Exercise Plans
MoodMission helps you learn new and better ways of coping with low moods and anxiety...
Handle stress and anxiety on the go
MindShift CBT is a free self-help anxiety relief app, that helps you reduce worry, stress...
Guided meditations
Here2Help has been developed by a local initiative from people who want to make the range...
Active 10 is a free and easy to use walking app that tracks your walking and shows you...
SuperBetter is a tool created by game designers to help you build resilience and get...
Fabulous! Is a motivational app that uses challenges to help build physically and...
What's Up? can help you cope with anxiety, stress and feelings of depression. It has...
Guided meditations
Clear Fear is an app developed for teenage mental health charity Stem4 which uses the...
Support to resist self-harm
Boost your happiness and create a kinder world while doing it with the Action for...
Self-Help for Anxiety Management (SAM) offers a range of self-help methods to help you...
Your Mind Plan offers practical ideas and advice to help you boost and maintain your mental wellbeing. Answer the quick 5-question quiz and the Every Mind Matters widget will give you 5 tailored actions to help you feel more in control, improve your sleep, deal with stress and anxiety, and boost your mood – as well as the option to easily swap any actions and to save the whole plan via email.

Helplines & Web Chats

Samaritans
Action Mental Health
Association for Post-Natal Illness Helpline
Aware NI - Support Groups
Aware NI - Online Support Groups
Mind - Side by Side Online Community