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What Support is There For Long Term Depression Sufferer?

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 6 Oct 2018 | comments*Discuss
Depression Long-term Support Mother


My mother has been looking after my sister who has depression for 10 years. She has now said she has finally given up on her and thinks she will never recover and must resign herself to the fact her daughter's life will be wasted.

Basically, I am extremely concerned about the effect my sister's depression has had on her monther. Is there any support available for people like my mum in the UK?

Thanks for your time and help. Best wishes, emily
(E.M, 3 July 2009)


When depression persists for many years – as in the case of your sister – it can feel hopeless for both the sufferer and family members who helplessly watch the depression sufferer deteriorate.

Caring for a Depressed Person

You say that your mother has been looking after your sister but you weren't clear on whether this is in a total sense (i.e. living together) or that she visits your sister each day to provide support.

If your mother and sister live together, it will be important for your mother to have respite from constant care giving. This may mean another person providing some level of care for your sister. You will need to consider the financial implications of a person providing care and any subsidised options that are available through the NHS.

Obtaining Treatment from a GP

If the care your mother provides is regular emotional support, then your sister should speak to her doctor about counselling and psychotherapy options. There is too much personal involvement for a family member to be the sole support person. While 'being there' for your sister is important, this should not be at the cost of your mother's mental health nor your own.

Is Depression for Life?

While there are people who fully recover from depression, others suffer from recurrences or long-term depression that persists. There are many different treatment options and research continues into this important area of mental health. Some people may need to try many different avenues of treatment before finding the one or combination that works.

It may indeed be the case that your sister doesn't fully 'recover' as such but she may instead be able to manage her depression to allow her to function on a daily basis, without the support of your mother. The key is to communicate with a doctor or specialist such as a psychiatrist who can help find the best approach to treating depression.

Your mother may need to learn to accept your sister's depression as a part of her life but this does not mean your sister's life is wasted. With the right treatment, she may find a way to cope with her depression, even if it remains to some degree.

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@Fishtale. You could try some of the many great mental health charitable organisations in the country. Here is just a handful of the more well known:
Depression Alliance
OvercomeDepression - 21-Jan-15 @ 11:50 AM
how do I go about getting help for someone that is suffering depression as I have been to the doc's and mental help withoutgetting help from them as the person is getting worse
fishtale - 18-Jan-15 @ 9:29 PM
am so depressed ! cant see what there is to live for ! i moved to kent after 19years with my ex who suffered from post natal depression and post traumatic stress disorder she became violent towards me and my sons who moved to kent with me ! i fought for custody which too 4 years and got joint care with my mother who lives close by ! my eldest son went off the rails at 13 and has caused me much heartache ! he has been backwards and forwards between myself and his mother since and sems to have no respect for anyone ! the last 5 boyfriends my ex has had he has attacked i cannot have a relationship for the same reason last year i was seeing a nice girl whom i have known a while he started to cause arguements and demand money culminating in an arguement where he left me in a pool of blood for dead in my own house ! since this incident i have struggled to remain close to my younger son who resides with my mother as i fear he will be the same when he gets older ! i dont feel i have the strenght to carry ontrying to be a parent to him but feel so guilty as i know he is nothing like his elder sibling but i cant change the way i feel ! at the moment i just feel so helpless useless and inadequate as a father and cannot see that things will ever change am at the point of moving away to isolate myself as this is the only way i feel i can go on !
john b - 4-Sep-12 @ 3:27 PM
I suffer from severe depression and this site is very good to get information and encouraging advice. It will help me and encourage me to overcome depression.
Helene32 - 2-Jul-11 @ 7:42 PM
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