On Tuesday, the Swarthmore Depression Support Group hosted an open discussion about supporting loved ones with depression. The meeting focused on the definition of depression and how to deal with trying to help someone with depression.
Depression normally refers to Major Depressive Disorder, which is clinically defined as a prolonged (at least two weeks) state of a depressive mood along with other symptoms such as suicidal tendencies, changed sleep and eating patterns, and negative ways of viewing situations that interfere with daily life. Dysthymia is a similar condition that is characterized by less severe symptoms, but is very prolonged.
Helping friends and family can be very difficult and must be dealt with on an individual basis. However, it is often very helpful to simply be available as a listener. It can also be helpful to ask a depressed loved one what they want you to do to help them. If depression is seriously impacting someone’s life, it can also be important to suggest to them that they seek professional help or to help them get that assistance.
The Swarthmore Depression Support Group meets on Tuesdays in the Women’s Resource Center at 9 PM. Contact Elena Smith [esmith3] or Lauren Kuzel [lkuzel1] for information.