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Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™

FAMILY: Help Me Help My Depressed Brother
Letter #: 387669
Category: Other

Original Letter

hi, this not technicially for me, but i also need help. i believe my brother has depression and i feel it has gotten worst. at this point he doesnt want to talk to me due to lack of communication. nor he doesnt talk to really anyone else. what adivce i need is to help him feel more motivated in life and self encourage him to become more confident with himself and allow him to be more active with his life. i know in depression, its more the person has to be the one to make things happen. but as a brother/supporter what can i do to help him or support to help himself. right now hes mad at me, so im gonna give him space and wait a bit. but please if any of you guys have any sort of advice for me that wouild be greatly appreciated. thanks

Elder Response

You are a very caring person to want to help your brother.  And yes, when a person gets mad at you, its best to give them some space. 

Get your brother to see a doctor as soon as possible. There can be several reasons for depression.  One common, simple thing is a specific vitamin deficiency.  His doctor can do some work to see if it is a physical problem that needs to be corrected or if your brother would benefit from medication. A doctor can also point your brother to counseling or other types of aid, depending on the cause of the issue. If your brother does have depression, it is likely not going to lift on its own and he will need help. If he is just unmotivated, then he will have to lift himself out of that condition. So its best to get an answer as to what the problem really is. 

Then, you need to get your mindset around how you deal with your brother. It is great to be there to support him, but you are not responsible for his condition or his life, for that matter.  Be sure that you are doing all that YOU need to do in order to be living a full, happy and motivated life.  Your brother will learn from your example.  Sometimes pushing a person to do something or to be a certain way can have the opposite effect.  So you'll want to be sure that you are not pushing him, just encouraging him, and those two things can have a very fine dividing line.  Do compliment him when you see even minor changes and progress.  

If he has any special interests, even just fun things not necessarily work related, you might help him by participating with him. For example, if he loves sports or likes to work out, invite him to the gym or to play a sport with you. If he enjoys books, see if there is a local book club where he could enjoy his interest as well as meet other people. 

If you brother is depressed, realize that it may take some time for him to make progress.  So give him the space he needs but be supportive, as you are doing now.  You are a good brother, and he is very lucky to have you in his corner. 

I wish you the best. Take care of yourself as well.  And please write us again in the future if we can be of any further assistance. 

Best Regards,



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