Mental health first aid is a mental health education program that teaches you how to identify mental illness and mental distress and then offers steps to help someone who has been diagnosed with mental illnesses. The 3 simple things you can do to help someone severely depressed are: be present, listen nonjudgmentally, and provide reassurance.
1) Be present. This means being with the person in whatever environment they are in. If you can, spend time with them doing activities that give them meaning and give them life purpose.
2) Listen nonjudgmentally. Avoid telling the person their mental illness is not accurate or that they should stop feeling depressed. Instead, provide support and acceptance to your loved one by listening with empathy.
3) Provide reassurance. Be patient with the person that is depressed by letting them know their mental illness does not define who they are as a person and that you will be there for them until they feel better.
If you are struggling with these steps yourself, please call a mental health professional immediately. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you; it means you need help too!