The essential role of social support in managing depression

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One of the more challenging situations for mental health clinicians is working with patients whose poor mental health has sucked from them the motivation or energy to make the behavioural changes required to improve their health. The patient knows what they need to do – but the symptoms of their illness make it almost impossible to activate the necessary behavioural changes.

For many patients living with depression, daily exercise, regular sleep/wake times, healthy diet, mindful meditation, social connection are all recommended to support mental health. And yet, for the patient in the depths of their depression, these tasks can seem as insurmountable as climbing Mt Everest. It is just beyond what they can imagine doing. Their capacity to engage in the behaviours that are known to improve mood is just not there.

But imagine a world where every person living with depression was surrounded by an informed personal care network whose role is to help motivate and support them to engage in the necessary behaviours.

If family and friends were provided with the right information and guidance so they knew what needed to be done and why, they could then play a more active role in encouraging the patient to make the changes necessary to set them on a path to better mental health. This would undoubtedly have a positive impact on the mental health of the patient.

Gather Group can play a meaningful role in changing how people living with depression cope with their illness, and this fills me with hope and excitement.

Managing depression alone and without social support is really hard. Talking to friends and family about what practical care they can provide or explaining your condition is also hard. Having technology that brings everyone together, shares educational information, makes care plans transparent and turns friends and family in to personal care networks makes things a little easier.

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