POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 65 Depression and Bipolar Disorder continued some symptoms, they can’t get rid of the thinking patterns or beliefs that can drive mood problems. Most people use a combination of medication and counselling. Other options If depression is very serious or lasts for a long time, doctors may recommend electroconvulsive therapy (or ECT). ECT can be very helpful, especially when other treatments haven’t worked. There are other options such as light therapy for certain kinds of depression, but it’s best to talk with your care team before you try something new. Relapse prevention A big part of recovery is learning to recognize relapse. A relapse is when symptoms come back. Seeking help as early as possible can do a lot to reduce problems or challenges. Relapse prevention plans - prepared when you’re well - often map out early warning signs, list treatment strategies that have worked in the past, and assign tasks to key people who can support you in your recovery.Your plan may be a formal arrangement with your care team or an informal plan with loved ones. How can I help a loved one? When someone you love is diagnosed with depression or bipolar disorder, you may wonder how you can really help. You can offer support in different ways: you can offer emotional support or practical support to help make the journey less daunting.You can also help a loved one watch for signs of relapse or other difficulties, which is an important part in maintaining wellness. People who experience an episode of depression may have thoughts of ending their life.This is a sign that a loved one needs extra support. If you believe that a loved one is in danger, don’t hesitate to call 911 or your local crisis line. Here are some tips for supporting someone you love: o Learn more about the illness and listen to your loved one so you have a better understanding of their experiences. o Someone who experiences an episode of depression may want to spend time alone or act out in frustration, and this can hurt other people’s feelings. These are just symptoms - it isn’t about you. o Ask your loved one how you can help. Think about practical help with day-to-day tasks, too. o Make sure your expectations are realistic. Recovery takes time and effort. It means a lot when you recognize your loved one’s work towards wellness, regardless of the outcome. o Make your own boundaries, and talk about behaviour you aren’t willing to deal with. o Seek support for yourself and think about joining a support group for loved ones. If family members are affected by a loved one’s illness, consider family counselling. NEED HELP? Depression and bipolar disorder are real illnesses, and they deserve care and support. Contact the Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team [MHMCT] at 1-902-429-8167 or Toll Free 1-888-429-8167