With the lockdown easing up and people able to get out more, there has remained an ongoing impact on the rate of depression and anxiety among people. This is particularly the case with people seen as most vulnerable, who have had to continue to self-isolate.
According to Age UK, around a fifth of people aged over 70 feel they've experienced mental health difficulties, including depression and anxiety through the lockdown. Many people have not spoken about how they feel, instead dealing with it alone.
So, how can you support a loved one experiencing depression? Here's some tips to help your friend or relative suffering depression:
Take a Walk
It's simple advice that everyone knows and is proven to brighten any low mood; getting some fresh air and exercise can revitalise you and get your mind onto your environment and off any negative thoughts. However, depression makes it hard to get the motivation to go for a walk.
By offering to go with your friend or relative, you'll be encouraging and giving them some company and reassurance. This is a time when everyone could use some help from others.
Create a Happy Memories Scrapbook
Getting crafty is well-known to have an impact on mood, provide therapeutic qualities and to get the mind focused. Why not create a scrapbook of favourite memories and happy moments? Get some photos together and help your loved one think of some really happy times through their life. Draw pictures of favourite places, food and hobbies. Gather photos, do some drawings or write some words together in a scrapbook to look through to help think of good times positive thoughts.
Have a New Focus
Depression can leave very little will to do much at all. If you know somebody with depression, helping them think about something they’ve always wanted to do, such as drawing or creating a scrapbook, can bring a new focus. Encourage your relative to think about what they used to enjoy or explore some new ideas and you being there with them might be all the encouragement they need.
Limit Social Media and News Feeds
There are all sorts of news articles about Covid-19 and reading every single story can make someone feel low or depressed. Some of the information may not be accurate or completely up-to-date. Then there are the conversations people is having on social media. Limit what you read to once a day or every couple of days and to a certain time limit so that your mind doesn’t go into overdrive with what’s happening.
Connect With Others
When depressed, the last thing people want to do is see anyone or chat. But it's so important to speak to people to help boost mood.The vast number of voluntary and community groups that have come together to help people has been astounding. There is still ongoing support for people who still need to self-isolate and they can provide befrienders to call you each week for a chat. Help your loved one get in touch by telling them about groups they can make friends or find a telephone person to call them every now and again. There are also plenty of groups online full of people with a common interest who you can get to know.
Not online? There’s plenty of neighbours happy to help. Ask your neighbour or your local shop about local groups offering support.
Find Out About Extra Help
We can all struggle at times with monthly living costs and if you’re struggling with depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions, there could be extra financial awards you could apply for. Having a little bit extra for the bills each month could help give you a bit more peace of mind. It costs nothing to do so and is simple to do.
Benefit Answers can provide support to take you through the process and help you complete the forms.
Need a Little Financial Help?
If you or someone you know is suffering from depression during this time, there may be financial help available.
The Personal Independent Payment is an award for anyone suffering from a serious or long-term illness that has a significant impact on their daily lives.
You may feel that depression or anxiety doesn't apply to this, but it could. Many people struggle on, managing their condition as best they can or of the mindset that it’s not appropriate to ask for help.