Caring for someone with depression or anxiety can be challenging. Although every personal experience is unique, there are aspects of the role that are common to many carers.
The beyondblue Guide for carers includes helpful information for carers and relatives of people who have either just been diagnosed, are recovering, or are in the early stages of depression/anxiety.
The guide covers topics such as:
- recognising that something is not right
- taking the first step
- getting to the first appointment
- accessing information
- keeping up the momentum
- working towards recovery
- overcoming setbacks
- emergency and crisis situations.
The guide also looks at the importance of taking care of you – the carer.
The Australian Government's Carer Gateway online hub, developed with the Department of Social Services (DSS), provides information about the services and support available for people who care for someone with a disability, chronic illness, dementia, mental illness or who are frail aged. Visit www.carergateway.gov.au or call 1800 422 737 for more information.
Things you can do to help someone with depression or anxiety:
- Let the person know if you've noticed a change in their behaviour.
- Spend time talking with the person about their experiences and let them know that you're there to listen without being judgmental.
- Suggest the person see a doctor or health professional and/or help them to make an appointment.
- Offer to go with the person to the doctor or health professional.
- Help the person to find information about depression and anxiety from a website or library.
- Encourage the person to try to get enough sleep, exercise and eat healthy food.
- Discourage the person from using alcohol or other drugs to feel better.
- Encourage friends and family members to invite the person out and keep in touch, but don't pressure the person to participate in activities.
- Encourage the person to face their fears with support from their doctor/psychologist.
It would be unhelpful to:
- put pressure on the person by telling them to 'snap out of it' or 'get their act together'
- stay away or avoid them
- tell them they just need to stay busy or get out more
- pressure them to party more or wipe out how they're feeling with drugs and alcohol.