As women, we often find ourselves in situations where a loved one is struggling with depression, and we desperately want to help, but we’re unsure of the right approach.
Maybe it’s a close friend who has withdrawn from social activities, or a family member who seems constantly overwhelmed by sadness. In these moments, it’s natural to feel helpless and uncertain about how best to support them, especially when it comes to matters of mental health.
However, as followers of Christ, we are called to love and support one another, especially during times of difficulty and despair. With a compassionate heart and a willingness to learn, we can offer meaningful support to our loved ones battling depression.
Here are five practical ways to provide assistance from a Christian perspective, supported by biblical wisdom from God’s Word:
5 Practical Ways to Support Someone Who Struggles With Mental Health
Show Unconditional Love and Acceptance
Romans 15:7 – “Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.”
Remind your loved one regularly that they are valued and cherished just as they are, regardless of their struggles. Express your love and appreciation for them in words and actions. Focus on their positive qualities and accomplishments, highlighting their strengths and resilience. Encourage them to recognize and celebrate their achievements, no matter how small. Show your love and acceptance by simply being there for them, whether it’s sitting quietly together, offering a listening ear, or giving them a hug when they need it most.
Listen with Empathy and Compassion
Proverbs 18:13 – “He who gives an answer before he hears, It is folly and shame to him.”
Practice active listening by giving your full attention to your loved one, maintaining eye contact, and reflecting back what they’ve said to ensure you understand their feelings and experiences. Validate their emotions without judgment or criticism, letting them know that it’s okay to feel what they’re feeling and that you’re there to support them no matter what. Empathize with their struggles by putting yourself in their shoes, offering empathy and compassion as they navigate their challenges.
Offer Practical Support
Galatians 6:2 – “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”
Create a meal schedule to coordinate with friends and family members, ensuring your loved one has nutritious meals without the added stress of cooking. Assist with household chores by offering to help with specific tasks such as cleaning, laundry, or grocery shopping. Schedule regular visits to lend a hand with household duties, easing their burden and giving them more time to focus on self-care. Provide transportation by offering to drive them to appointments, therapy sessions, or support group meetings, arranging a carpool system with friends or family members to ensure they have reliable transportation when needed.
Pray Together and Encourage Spiritual Growth
James 5:16 – “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
Pray together with your loved one, seeking God’s comfort, strength, and healing. Encourage them to draw closer to God through prayer, meditation on Scripture, and participation in spiritual activities.
Encourage Professional Help and Treatment
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 – “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.”
Encourage your loved one to seek professional help and treatment, such as therapy or medication, if needed. Offer to accompany them to appointments and provide ongoing support and encouragement throughout their journey towards healing.
Supporting a loved one battling depression can feel overwhelming, but with love, empathy, and biblical wisdom, we can make a meaningful difference in their lives. Let us embrace our role as compassionate caregivers, extending Christ’s love and grace to those in need. Together, we can walk alongside our loved ones on their journey towards healing and wholeness, offering hope and support every step of the way.