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Here are some of the small things you can do to help someone with anxiety or depression

Manchester Evening News logo Manchester Evening News 14/05/2017 Elise Johnson

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Experiencing depression or anxiety can be terrifying, but watching a loved one suffer from the effects can also be difficult to deal with.

Even with the best intentions, people often don't know how to help someone suffering from a mental health problem.

So what can you do to make sure you’re supporting your friend or family member?

With the help of Stephen Buckley from Mind, the UK’s largest mental health charity, we have created a list of practical ways you can help someone who is struggling to cope.

Credits: Shared Content Unit © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Shared Content Unit

Helping them with the chores

Anxiety and depression can make every day tasks feel insurmountable.

Therefore making sure someone has milk in their fridge or clean clothes in the cupboard can create a stable environment. This simple practical support means that the person has one less thing to worry about.

- Help them go through their post and bills

- Make sure they have enough food in

- Encourage them to take care of themselves

- Clean their kitchen and create a nice living environment

- Cook them meals to heat up

Be patient and expect the ups and downs

Anxiety and depression are not always constant, so while someone may feel positive one day that does not mean they won’t feel down the next day.

Stephen Buckley, Head of Mind communication, advised “Try not to blame the person for feeling anxious or depressed, or tell them to ‘pull themselves together’. They are probably already blaming themselves, and criticism is likely to make them feel even worse.

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Don’t let them push you away

Someone with depression can be difficult to help. Depression and anxiety are scary conditions, and can lead the sufferer to feeling frustrated and misunderstood. If the person says something unkind to you try to understand this comes from a place of frustration rather than malice.

To help communication Mind suggest forming a colour code system.

It can be as simple as having the person text you an emoji heart before you meet so you know what kind of mood to expect and know how to help them on that particular day.

For example:

Blue – I love you but I need to be alone

Amber – I can’t talk but I do need company

Red – I’m feeling angry and irritable but it’s not because of you

Black – I’m feeling vulnerable today

This colour system can be helpful because living with depression and anxiety can make communicating feel extremely hard.

As with all the suggestions on this list not everything works for everybody so use your judgement as to whether it's appropriate or not.

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Make them a brew and have a chat

Simply talking about feelings or concerns can help. It may stop them from bottling up all their emotions and lets you know what is worrying them. You don’t have to explicitly talk about mental health just check in on them.

Make sure you make an effort to always invite them out with you, or take them for coffee, even if they usually decline. It lets them know that they have options and support.

Sending your friend a text asking how their day is going can help stop feelings of isolation.

Encourage them to seek help

Asking for help can be a scary step however Stephen thinks this is often vital, saying: “ You can reassure them that it is possible to do something to improve their situation, but you need to do so in a caring and sympathetic way.”

You could ask them if they would like you to:

- Help book an appointment with a GP

- Attend an appointment with them

- Explore sources of support together

Readers seeking support and information about can contact -Depression Helpline (8am to 12 midnight) - 0800 111 757



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