What is the first thing I should do to keep depression crises from happening?

Communication is the most important factor in stopping crises before they begin. If you are depressed, you need to keep your doctor and therapist updated about any changes in your depression, especially if you feel it is getting worse, so they will be prepared to act. If you are having suicidal thoughts, let your doctor and therapist know how frequently they occur and how severe they are. It is up to you to keep others in your life apprised of your condition. Pick a few individuals who can handle this information, and periodically update them so they will not be caught unawares if things begin to go downhill. You want to have a support system already in place in case of trouble.

If you are the friend, spouse, or other family member of the depressed person, you need to establish a line of communication about her depression. It is your responsibility to offer to talk about her feelings and to let her know that you will be there to support her if she needs you. If you are a close family member or significant other of the depressed individual, you may want to identify yourself to her doctor and therapist. This just consists of picking up the telephone, introducing yourself, and letting them know that they can call if you can ever help with your loved one’s depression. This also opens communication with the doctor and therapist so that if you ever need to call them about a potential problem, they will know who you are and recognize you as their ally.

If you are having difficulty understanding your loved one’s depression, you may consider asking the doctor and therapist to help. You may offer to pay for their time or schedule an appointment so they can talk with you, answer your questions, and give you suggestions about what you can say and do. Do not expect to learn specifics about the depressed person’s condition or treatment, because this is privileged information.