How can one know if they are depressed and need treatment?

If you or your family member has any of the following symptoms, especially if they are new, worse, or worrying you, you should call a healthcare professional right away, especially if the affected person has significant difficulty coping with social or occupational roles:

  • Thoughts about suicide or dying
  • Attempts to commit suicide
  • New or worse depression
  • New or worse anxiety
  • Feeling very agitated or restless
  • Panic attacks
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • New or worse irritability
  • Acting aggressive, being angry or violent
  • Acting on dangerous impulses
  • An extreme increase in activity and talking (mania)
  • Other unusual changes in behavior or mood

How can I persuade a loved one to get treatment?

Remind them that it is a medical illness and that it is very treatable.

Provide a listening ear but avoid judgment or trying to suggest quick fixes to their problems. Validate feelings and allow them to ventilate.

Do not tell them to "be strong" since this implies weakness or "not to think so much" as that is what they want also but cannot have at the moment.

Answer provided by Dr Nelson Lee, a consultant psychiatrist at The Psychological Wellness Centre.