This is from experience as well as some research I've done over the past few weeks. As all my readers know, I personally suffer from Depression. It's been a very emotional road for me. I'm FINALLY in therapy and trying out different medications. But, that's not all that will help me get through this. The support of family and friends will only help the recovery (if possible) come faster or at least help get it under control faster.
1. Educate Yourself
How can one help when they're not sure what the person is going through? Find out facts. Know what isn't a fact. Learn the warning signs of suicide. By doing this, you may one day save that person's life.
2. Listen & Support
The best way for a person to over come or even ease depression is to have someone to talk to. Some one to confide in. When a person doesn't have that person/group, they can feel very alone in the world. Like they have no one to turn to. Don't wait on them to come to you. Make sure they know from you, that you're always there no matter what and if they ever need someone to talk to... you will listen. The best advice you can give.... NONE. Well, unless you're going through the same thing. You can always help the person find ways to see the better of their situation.
3. Continue the support no matter what!!!!
Don't be offended easily. If you're close to the loved one that is suffering, you may feel hurt because the person seems angry, emotional, and uncaring. Just remember, you're loved one cares... they just have a hard way to show it. Therefore, no matter what.... show you're support.
I write this with experience. These are all things I wish would happen for me or at least start showing somewhere for me. Remember, those with depression... aren't overly emotional by choice. They can't help the way they feel. The chemical imbalance within their brain takes control and the actions may not be realized until later on. Just remember: TRY to UNDERSTAND and SUPPORT them in every way you can. By doing this, you just may be saving their life, every day you show the understanding and support.