Strengthening A Family Member Who Has Depression




Strengthening a family member who is diagnosed with depression can be daunting. You might feel powerless and don’t know what else to do. Learn ways on how to provide support and knowledge and help a loved one acquire the proper resources to deal with their depression. Here are some things you can do.

Know More About The Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of depression vary from individual to individual. These include tiredness or lack of energy at even the small activities, sudden outbursts of anger and irritability, feelings of hopelessness and sadness, insomnia, anxiety, appetite loss, or heightened cravings for different kinds of food, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, and frequent suicidal thoughts, among others.

For most individuals with depression, the symptoms are typically intense enough to lead to obvious problems with activities of daily living, like at school, work, relationships, and social activities. Others might be more miserable or sad without really knowing the reason why. Teens and kids may be more cranky and short-tempered rather than down and gloomy.

Pursue Treatment

Individuals who have depression may be unable to acknowledge that they are indeed depressed. They might even be unaware of the warning signs of depression so they would actually think that what they are feeling is normal. Also, they feel embarrassed about their illness and pretend to believe that they must surpass the illness on their own. But in truth, depression rarely becomes better without any complementary treatment. In fact, it might even worsen. With the proper treatment, your loved one will heal, recover, and get better.


What can you do to help your depressed family member?

  • Express to your loved one your concern about the symptoms that you have noticed.
  • Tell him or her gently that depression is something that is medical, not a weakness that was caused by her, and emphasize that there is a treatment for it.
  • Encourage your loved one to ask for help from a mental health professional – a counselor, psychologist, therapist, or psychiatrist.
  • Let your loved one feel that you are there for him by going with him to his doctor’s appointments or just being with him when he needs someone to talk to.

Know The Signs To Watch Out For In Severe Depression

Everybody experiences different signs of depression. Keep an eye on your beloved family member. Read more about how the illness impacts him and learn tips and strategies on what to do when his depression worsens.

Things to consider:

  • What usual depressive signs and symptoms does your family member present with?
  • What kind of behaviors or type of language have you observed when depression is severe?
  • What situations can trigger your loved one’s depressive condition?
  • Are there activities that your loved one can do to help decrease depressive symptoms?


Severe depression must be treated promptly. Encourage your family member to see his mental health provider so that they can discuss a treatment plan for his illness. His mental health provider might require him to make adjustments to his medications, visit a psychotherapist, and give more attention to his health – his food, activities, and his hours of sleep.

Give The Support He Needs

Keep in mind that your family member’s debilitating illness is not his or your family’s fault. You can’t possibly cure your loved one’s depression, but you can definitely provide the support and understanding that he needs. If he is currently being treated for depression, perhaps you can remind him about taking his medications and keep up with his appointments. You must also be there to listen to him. Let him feel that you understand him – or you want to. However, try to avoid giving unsolicited advice or judging him. Listening and understanding him is more than enough help.

If you have extra time, you can offer to take care of other chores that he might not be able to do because of his treatments. Cook a meal for him or his children. Help with the laundry or do the dishes if he’s too down or preoccupied. In this way, you are helping him create a less stressful environment, which in turn reduces his symptoms.

Lastly, if your loved one is open to emotional or spiritual healing, encourage him to participate in activities that would help him express his faith, whether it be joining a religious organization or a group of close friends who are into prayer and meditation.


As for you, as a family member, supporter, and loved one, what you can do is learn about the illness, as the more you understand the definition, causes, signs and symptoms, and many more about depression, the more helpful you can be.


Also, you must not forget to take care of yourself. Helping someone overcome depression is quite daunting. Ask help from others and take the necessary steps to prevent you from getting depressed or frustrated yourself. Find relaxing activities or hobbies that would interest you. Finally, remember that patience is a virtue. Depression does get better with treatment but it doesn’t happen overnight. Find the best treatment program. For some, symptoms improve fast after a few weeks of treatment. For others, it might take longer.



COVID-19 Mental Health Awareness – Self-Care Tips When You Feel Low And Broken

Are you feeling overwhelmed with all the things around you, especially now that you need to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic? Are you struggling financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally? Are you feeling that everything negative is happening all at once? Sadly, when you are feeling low and broken, it becomes easy for you to convince yourself to stay in that unfortunate situation. You become less and less worried about what might happen to you because you think you are already on the ground.

Nevertheless, part of you still wants things to get better. You hope that someday, all your worries and fear will soon end up. But before that, you need to help yourself get back on track, so consider these self-care tips.


Try To Step Outside

It is ideal to follow specific protocols such as social distancing these days. It is one of the best ways to keep you away from getting infected from the virus. But your thoughts can become even louder, especially when you’re at home alone. Sometimes, you get congested with all the negativity from watching the news. So if ever you can, please step outside and get some fresh air. Make use of your chance to be alone with nature. Try to step outside for short walks, or at least utilize your lawn if you have one. Stepping outside is beneficial in clearing your head as well as improve your mood.


Take A Nap

You are not meant to experience life locked up in a room. Understandably, you are trying your best to look for ways to keep yourself busy while staying at home for quarantine. But admittedly, there are times that you don’t get enough sleep. That explains why sometimes your moods take a turn for the worse. You get cranky from the mental and emotional exhaustion. So to avoid that, consider taking a nap once or twice a day. Just curl up on the couch, try to close your eyes, and allow your mind and body to recharge. And once you wake up, you will entirely feel better.


Do A Space Makeover

During this lockdown, cleaning your space is one of the best things you can do. It can keep you distracted, which is beneficial to your emotional and mental state right now. But note, cleaning doesn’t have to be overly excessive. You can still make a difference even if you only organize or rearrange stuff in your room. Big or small, the changes you make can always enhance the atmosphere of your space. And since you are spending more time in your area, it is better to give it love and attention.


Take A Break From Social Media

As much as you want to thank the internet for keeping you busy during your lockdown experience, there is a benefit if you take a break from it. Yes, social media helps in distracting you from stress and anxiety. However, too much of it can cause a whole lot of different mental issues. It becomes a platform that adds pressure in terms of competing with other people’s lives during this pandemic. At some point, it emphasizes some of the worst situations out there that can add bitterness and sorrow to your heart. So if you think your sense of self is worth more than a digitalized reputation, step back away from social media pressure.

Reach Out

During this time, it is essential to reach out to people digitally. It is okay to tell them how you feel. Avoid shutting down yourself from everyone only because you think this pandemic is causing issues on social relationships. Be creative and talk to people. Make it a habit to communicate and allow other people to be there for you, even digitally.

Knowing God Is Not Too Bad When You Have Depression

Religion has never been a significant part of my life. Even when I was growing up, I had never seen my parents pick up a Bible or go to a church. But then, when I got diagnosed with depression last year, a friend invited me to the God and Depression Conference 2019.



I genuinely had no desire to attend the conference, especially not when it sounded like a religious one. However, I saw how much my friend wanted me to come, and she rarely asked me for anything—it was always the other way around. So, I allowed her to drag me to the event.

During the first hour, I was already bored. A Roman Catholic organization organized the conference, so there was a church mass at first. As the hours went by, I found myself listening about people’s testimonials about how God helped them. That inspired me to welcome Him in my life for the first time, hoping to overcome my depression naturally. 

I realized that it was the best decision because:

It Felt Like Having A New Friend But Without The Adverse Side Effects

A typical friend is comparable to a double-edged sword in the sense that it can protect or stab you. However, when you befriend God, you need not worry about dealing with a potential backstabber. You can tell Him all your issues, and no one else will hear about them.



It Was Humbling To Hear About His Hardships

Getting to know God entails having to understand His life story through the Bible or even church songs. Either focus on everything that Jesus Christ did to save all of us and such information is humbling. It has made me think, “If God can do all that without falling into depression, I should start getting my act together.”

Final Thoughts

Whether you have depression or not, I will never force you to start knowing God now. I still don’t believe in miracles or going to church every Sunday, but I can attest to how talking to Him like a friend has helped ease my depression. 


This Coronavirus Makes Me Feel All Alone

Like everybody else, I have been at home a lot for an extended period. Perhaps some of you are spending time with a few members of your family. But as for me, I have to deal with the situation all by myself. Don’t get it wrong. I live alone because I work far from my family. I lived and stayed in another country for almost five years, so that explains why I am dealing with this situation single-handedly.


Due to this negative news that I see and hear every day, I wonder. How much safety will this self-isolation provide me? What about my mental health? Why does it feels like social distancing is a form of torment that I follow without hesitation? Honestly, I may not have the answers to these questions, but one thing I know is sure. I am alone, and I can’t stop thinking about how depressing my situation is right now. I don’t want to sound so negative, but it is pretty hard to manage things at this point in my life. Not that I didn’t try every means out there that supposedly help me get through this condition because I did. Unfortunately, not a single one of them works.


The Mental Struggle I Dealt With

I tried exercising since I know it can help in maintaining active brain waves while enhancing the body’s immune system. But after a couple of times doing at least 5 to 10 minutes of physical activity, my mind tells me I’m exhausted already. I also tried meditation. I understood the importance of a calm mind and body; that is why I did my best not to think about anything bad or worse in this situation. However, I failed to concentrate because the worries and fear I have for my family, considering they are far from me, is more significant than any of my attempt for mental calmness. I also diverted my thoughts by reading books. But after reading a few pages and a moment of pause, I began having negative thoughts all over again. It is as if these bad thoughts are only trying to wait for an opportunity to pop up in my head.


Dealing with this situation alone is not everyone can understand. No one can tell me to do this or that. I tried not to think about these unhealthy thoughts. Admittedly, I know I am not weak because I managed to live my life away from my family for a lot of years. But this time, given this uncertain situation, my entire mental and emotional capability is fragile. To add damage to the situation, the stability I once had is now gone. I recognized that I am now at the point where my negative emotions are powerful than my will to survive in this global health crisis.


What I Want To Say

For those of you who do not understand my situation, I humbly ask that you stop assuming that depressed people like us can follow your guidelines just like that. Please note that we are more than willing to do our best for the sake of our mental and emotional health. But the idea of you continually telling us that what we are feeling is something you can easily handle, I might have to disagree. We all have different levels of sadness, and we experience things differently, as well. Therefore, you have no right to tell us what we should and shouldn’t feel at this time of crisis. I understand that some of you are only trying to help by encouraging us to feel even a little positivity. But trust us, we are genuinely trying.

Helping A Depressed Sister Feel Better

When I went to the 2018 Depression Cell Conference, I had mixed emotions. In general, I felt honored to take part in such an eye-opening event. Everyone was welcoming; you could not feel a hint of judgment from the people around you.
However, it also saddened me to hear the ordeals that led folks to depression.



Many of them were victims of abuse, and they could not forget it. Others lost a loved one and could not get over it.
But you know, that experience has later allowed me to help my sister overcome depression after a rather intense breakup. It made me that depressed loved ones need:
To Be Heard
Depression comes when negative thoughts pile up in your head. My sister was afraid of making us worry at the time, so she chose to bottle up everything. Once I encouraged her to speak up, though, the situation got better.



To Feel Loved
Depressed folks are some of the loneliest people in the world. They feel like they cannot talk to anyone, even though they are almost never physically alone. When it happened to my sister, my parents and I made a point of calling her every day, talking casually about day-to-day events, and ending it by exchanging “I love you.”
To See The Reality Of Life
Depression makes you not want to deal with harsh facts. In my sister’s case, she could not accept that her four-year relationship came to an end. Without sounding too critical, I laid out the pros of splitting with her ex and made her see it in a different light. It was challenging, yes, but it was for the best.


Healing from depression did not take place in one day. My sister would still sometimes cry about the breakup even after a few months. But she gets more resilient every day and continues to learn how to respect herself more than any man in the world.
Remember the tips above to see your depressed sister, brother, friend, or any loved one heal.

Types Of Counseling Psychotherapies For Depressive Disorders





More than just two people talking or conversing about personal matters, talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy, involves a therapist providing a variety of treatment modalities to a patient to resolve psychological and emotional issues. Psychotherapy is also a potent tool in creating aspired changes in one’s life.


One of the primary mental disorders that psychotherapy can treat is depression because it helps people delve deeper into the underlying cause of their condition while acquiring or learning new coping mechanisms.


Types Of Psychotherapies Used In Counseling


Psychotherapy does have a lot of varieties that are commonly used in counseling sessions. Further studies show that if combined with antidepressants, psychotherapy’s positive outcomes are enhanced due to the biophysical connection of majority of mood disorders.


Majority of the treatment modalities that are mentioned below specifies evidence that supports effectiveness in managing depressive disorders.




  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy(CBT) is the combination of the previously known cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. CT focuses on the individual’s behaviors and thoughts that are mainly responsible for depression. “Cognitive-behavioral therapy, in a nutshell, seeks to change a person’s irrational or faulty thinking and behaviors by educating the person and reinforcing positive experiences that will lead to fundamental changes in the way that person copes,” says John M. Grohol, Psy.D. Therapists who prefer cognitive behavioral therapy help patients with:


  • Teaching useful ways to respond to daily situations and defy preconceptions
  • Creating goals that individuals must work on as their homework
  • Showing patients that in every situation, there’s always a silver lining that one needs to focus on instead of dwelling on the negative
  • Identifying usual patterns of pessimistic thoughts and transforming it into optimistic ideations
  • Making individuals identify their displeasing behaviors and finding a way to change or eliminate them by utilizing operant and classical conditioning


         2.  Psychodynamic Therapy

This type of psychotherapy is established on the belief that depressive disorders occur due to unresolved, mostly unaware conflicts that often emanate from childhood experiences. Usually, psychodynamic therapy is for the individual whose goal is to gain sufficient consciousness on the extent of their emotions, which include disturbing and conflicting ones. As a result, the person will become more resilient and capable of bearing their feelings and utilizing them to grow more favorable to their viewpoint. “Psychodynamic therapy is the oldest of the modern therapies. (Freud’s psychoanalysis is a specific form and subset of psychodymanic therapy.) As such, it is based in a highly developed and multifaceted theory of human development and interaction,” Jim Haggerty, MD, writes.


  1. Dialectical Behavior Therapy

A type of cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy is aimed at teaching patients vital skills to deal with stress, improve relationships, and control emotions. Dialectical behavior therapy is a derivative of dialectics, a known philosophical method that is primarily based on the idea that all things in this world comprise of opposites, and change will occur when the opposing energy is stronger and more influential than the other. Furthermore, dialectical behavior therapy integrates mindfulness, a therapeutic technique based on Buddhist traditions.


Other Kinds Of Talk Therapy Formats


  1. Family therapy –when working on the dynamics within the family, this type of psychotherapy is most beneficial.


  1. Individual therapy –this treatment modality incorporates confidential discussion between therapist and patient. Here, the patient is given full attention by the therapist. However, there are certain limitations wherein the therapist is not given the opportunity to assess their patients within their family or social relationships.


  1. Group Therapy –usually involving more than ten patients, group therapy offers the chance to share and receive support from different individuals by coping with specific issues while a therapist observes the interaction. “Getting different perspectives is often helpful in promoting growth and change,” says Michael Herkov, Ph.D.




Finding the most appropriate depression treatment entirely depends on what you prefer, what your counselor believes to be most suitable for your condition, and whether or not you and your therapist will get along.



The Depressed Ones: Convincing Your Youth to Seek Therapy




When children are in dire need of mental help due to depression, there’s no easy way to relate to them that psychological therapy is a must because most of the time, for various reasons, these kids are apprehensive to get mental treatment.


Breaking the news gently to your depressed child is difficult because you are anxious about his or her reaction to the scary notion of therapy.


Is your child going to be angry or defensive? Or will your son or daughter form this idea that you see him or her as somebody who’s broken and needs fixing? How do parents let their children understand the concept of therapy and how should it be introduced in a way that won’t offend them?


Introducing Therapy To Your Kids

Usually, children who are dealing with depression, who are aware that they are going through a dark tunnel, are easier to convince than those who don’t believe or are in denial that they are in emotional pain.

“Some parents experience grief and loss while their child feels abandoned or unloved,” says  Támara Hill, MS, LPC. “Some kids become very angry with their parents and may resent them.”



Before diving into the unknown, parents must first expect the worse. And what that means is that parents should be prepared for whatever reaction their kids might have. So how do parents introduce therapy to their depressed children without being seen as aggressive or domineering and without being offensive?


  1. Timing Is Important

Wait for things to calm down; don’t tell your child that he or she must be sent to counseling during heated or chaotic moments. Wait for situations to calm down then raise the concern. Children who are experiencing depression may become riled up and might immediately become upset.


  1. Confess The Problem

Children appreciate it when they are not lied to. Once you get the chance to talk to them, you should first air out that you’re merely concerned and worried about their condition. Divulge your observations calmly and soothingly.


  1. Explain The Solution

As parents, you wish you could be enough for what your child needs and magically make the condition disappear. Unfortunately, life’s not like that. There are still problems that are entirely out of your hands unless you’re a licensed therapist. The moment you’ve elaborated the depressive symptoms and offered compassion, inform your child that there is a way out of the condition. If children show the willingness to listen, grab the opportunity to thoroughly explain what therapy is. Also, provide information on why it is needed and how it can help in dealing with their depressive symptoms. “Therapy is kind of like going to a personal trainer. The two of you develop goals and a plan of action, the professional guides and supports, and you do the heavy lifting to reap the benefits,” says Ryan Howes, Ph.D.


  1. Don’t Give Up

Being turned down is part of the therapy introduction process, but the important thing is that you’ve aired out your concerns and have placed the solution on the table. It will take some time for your child to digest the reality that there’s something deeply wrong with him or her and psychological help is required.

“It takes time to see progress. Everyone moves at different paces in therapy,” says Helen Nieves, LMHC.

So don’t give up just yet. Allow the truth to sink in; eventually, children will realize that you are only doing this for their good. Don’t get discouraged and continually be comforting and understanding.




During Therapy

Remember that therapy is just the start of successful treatment. Once your child agrees to see a therapist, the parents must follow and support the therapeutic plan all the way through. Always offer encouragements and make your children feel that they are not alone in their battle against depression.



Psychiatry Facts: Factors That Increase The Risk Of Developing Depression




When depression reports have been flooding the news and the Internet, aren’t you a tad bit curious what the factors are that might influence the risk of having such a condition?


Psychiatry states that depressive disorders choose neither age nor gender, and actual reasons why people are depressed aren’t usually known. However, researchers and medical professionals suspect that there are quite a few explanations about why depression occurs and why it is a condition that is not always escapable or preventable.

“For some people, the biological factors, such as genetics, may be stronger than the other two. For others, it may be caused mainly by a psychological issue, such as one’s personality or way of coping with stress,” says John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

An estimation of 10% to 15% of the entire population may struggle with clinical depression within their lifetime. And based on the World Health Organization’s evaluation, five percent of men and nine percent of women will experience depression in any particular year.




Factors That Increase The Risk For Depression


  1. Inadequate Nutrition

We’ll be starting off with a risk factor that’s far less complicated to understand compared to the other risk factors, and that’s inadequate intake of nutritious food. Diet with little nutritional value is a huge risk factor for developing depression in a lot of ways. Assortments of deficiencies concerning vitamins and minerals are said to be a major player in causing depressive symptoms to worsen.


Evidence shows that foods lacking in omega-3 fatty acids are imbalanced and can increase the risk for depression. For those who are fond of sweets, you will be surprised how your comfort food can be the source of your melancholia.


  1. Death Of A Loved One

After losing a family member or a close friend, grieving takes place. The bereaved may experience sleeping difficulties, loss of appetite, disinterest in specific activities, and sadness, which are all typical responses to losing someone.


Individuals may experience grief for a short period, which is often mistaken as depression at some point. Depression occurs if the sadness does not subside in a week or two. Furthermore, the symptoms tend to worsen and add up as days pass.


  1. Stressful Changes

Stress means differently for every person. Most of the time, stress can be fought using various coping mechanisms. But specific life events may overwhelm an individual’s ability to deal and manage the stress. Depletion of coping strategies may increase a person’s risk to become depressed.


Researchers are stating that increased cortisol, the hormone secreted when stressed, directly affects serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of satisfaction and happiness, which then leads to depression.


  1. Family History

It’s in your genes or your biology; you are wired to be depressed at a certain point, and you cannot do anything about it. Family history is a more complicated risk factor for depressive disorders that is yet to be concluded by researchers. However, this reason is often argued upon by investigating the link between family history and present-day mental illness.

“Other mental illnesses, such as alcoholism in family members, can also increase the risk for depression,” says Jim Haggerty, MD.

Therefore, if you know anyone in your family, either your grandparents, relatives, parents, or siblings who have depressive symptoms, there is an increased risk that you may develop the condition as well.




Watch Your Health

When talking about mental health, somehow, there is proof that the mind-body connection exists and if one of these two is harmed or damaged, a series of medical problems will occur. “Medical illnesses such as stroke, heart attack, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and hormonal disorders can increase the risk of depression,” says Ben Martin, Psy.D. “Chronic pain is known to be associated with depression.” For this reason, it is strictly advised that people become more mindful of their health, whether it’s physical or mental, for prevention purposes.



Gadgets May Get Your Children Depressed




New study associate anxiety, severe depression, suicide attempts and suicide to rising usage of smartphones, tablets, and other devices. Parents are highly encouraged to help their children build real relationships that involve the actual connection, making eye contacts and interpreting body language. Local mental health experts urge parents and teens to consciously include in their routine the balance between real and virtual communication.

“They learn by watching us how to have a conversation, how to read other people’s facial expressions. And if that’s not happening, children are missing out on important development milestones,” says Jenny Radesky, MD.



Using technology and smartphones is perfectly fine as long as the amount of time spent on these are regulated and the person using it can create boundaries in his virtual life. According to the survey done by CDC, it is revealed that feelings of suicidal thoughts and hopelessness has risen by 12% during the period and almost half of the teenagers who are spending five or more hours a day on smartphone, laptop or tablet stated that they have contemplated, planned or attempted suicide at one point in comparison to the 28% of teenagers who spend less than an hour a day on these devices. The increase was also noticed by social workers, counselors, and mental health experts. They see upticks in signs of depression and anxiety among teens, but these issues come with solutions to lessen the risks for teenagers. This is where parents and professionals assistance is needed.

It is unfair to blame technology for the increasing incidence of depression solely, after all, it is a natural object that can either be good or bad depending on how people view and develop behaviors around them. Other experts believe that the increase in depression and anxiety is attributed to a higher frequency of smartphone usage and less stigma about mental health issues. More than ever, teenagers are aware of and verbalize more about mental health in general. Numerous adolescents would point out the relationship they have online is real since communication is frequent despite it being done virtually. Mobile phones can also serve as a digital security blanket which provides individuals to tinker with their phones than interact with others. It is kind of a flag that says stay away I’m busy. Despite the advances in technology towards mimicking real face to face encounters, it cannot substitute the benefit of face to face conversation. Much of the communication involves nonverbal cues and immediate feedback. The connection of gadget uses, and depression is like a chicken and egg relationship. It is still unknown whether they avoid face to face interaction because they are depressed or they are depressed because they are on social media.




In essence, parents need to set boundaries and constitute a routine. Make a clear rule that self-care activities such as hygiene, study time and sleep should not be compromised instead of long hours on social media and technology. . “Ensure balance in your child’s life,” says Dona Matthews, Ph.D. If they are more interested in establishing relationships online than in real life, then, it might be best to consult a counselor or psychiatrist. Your child might be experiencing anxiety disorders. In establishing rules, discuss it thoroughly with your child and incorporate their suggestions and input. “Model appropriate cell phone use. If we model restraint, maybe our kids will see it’s possible,” Michael Ungar, Ph.D., recommends.