Help your loved one with depressive symptoms

As the friend or family member of someone with a depressive illness, you play an important role. Strong, consistent support can make a big difference to the person you care for. This may include going along to medical appointments, asking questions and generally staying involved.

The correct diagnosis of any illness is key to its treatment. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health states that the most important thing caregivers can do is help a loved one get the right diagnosis and treatment.

Share your insights as a caregiver

Encourage your loved one to complete this questionnaire and discuss it with his or her doctor. Or download this caregiver questionnaire and discuss your answers at your loved one’s next appointment. Your insights may be more valuable than you know.

If your friend or family member has struggled to find effective treatment for their depressive symptoms, it may be time to ask about bipolar depression.

Bipolar depression is a form of biploar disorder. Yet many people don’t know they have it. If your loved one is treating depressive symptoms but not getting better, ask about bipolar depression. Using this tool may help.

Download the caregiver

Sharing your questionnaire responses with the healthcare provider may provide added insight into your loved one’s illness. While you’re having that conversation, here are some questions you may want to ask:

  • Could my friend or relative's symptoms be bipolar depression instead of another kind of depression?
  • What are the differences between bipolar depression and other kinds of depression?
  • Is bipolar depression treated differently from other kinds of depression? If so, how?
  • Are there FDA-approved treatment options for bipolar depression?
  • What things can I do to help my loved one better manage his/her symptoms?

If you know someone in crisis:

  • Tell someone who can help immediately
  • Call 911
  • Make sure the person is not left alone

If you know someone who has serious thoughts about suicide, call a healthcare provider right away or take them to the emergency room. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).