How to Motivate Someone Who Has Depression

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Depression is a devastating condition that affects a person's mind, body and all facets of his life. The condition can become so severe that a person may have a hard time getting out of bed, eating or attending to basic personal hygiene. Someone with depression may isolate herself and withdraw from activities she once enjoyed. Even family and work can fall by the wayside during a severe bout of depression. If someone you love is suffering from depression, the main goal will be to motivate the person to seek professional help.

  • Listen to what the depressed person has to say. In some cases, depression is result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. In other instances, the person may be going through a hard time in his life such as loss of a job or going through a divorce. Help the person feel comfortable talking about her feelings. Many times the relief he will experience will motivate him to schedule talk therapy with a professional therapist.

  • Validate the person's condition. Many times a person with depression feels alienated, misunderstood and guilty. He may not understand what's wrong or he may think he is lazy. A depressed person may not even know she is suffering from a severe mental health condition. Helping someone you love acknowledge and understand that he has a problem is the first step to him accepting he needs professional help and advice.

  • Help the person find a reputable therapist. Get a few recommendations from your friends, family or doctor and discuss these options with your loved one. Sometimes a depressed person will lack the motivation to make the first step to seek help but will gladly attend a talk therapy session if someone facilitates the process.

  • Try to get the depressed person outdoors for a few minutes each day. Combining being outdoors with a moderate activity such as walking can do wonders on a depressed person's mood. If she feels too tired to walk, try to sit outdoors in the sunlight if possible. This can be challenging, but not impossible. Depression has many faces. Some depressed people want to isolate themselves from the world. Most however, experience a deep loneliness. The prospect of taking a short walk with someone who expresses a genuine concern in their well-being is readily accepted in many cases.

  • Cook him healthy meals. In general a depressed person lacks the motivation to cook healthy meals or sometimes even to eat. A lack of nutrients can actually make his condition worse so coaxing the person to eat at least a few morsels of a healthy, balanced meal can help. Great foods to help boost mood have the serotonin precursor tryptophan such as turkey, eggs, milk, beans and cheese. Salmon, walnuts and tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids that are also said to help boost mood.

Tips & Warnings

  • Depression can be so severe as to induce thoughts of suicide. Certain behaviors should be considered red flags such as purchasing a weapon, making a will or giving away personal belongings. Comments such as "I wish I was dead" or "I can't take it anymore" are a cry for help that should be taken seriously and brought to the attention of a mental health professional immediately.

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