How to Help Your Friend or Loved One

As a partner to a friend or loved one with bipolar depression, you play a vital role in their care. You are someone they can trust and rely on for support—someone who can help them make important treatment decisions.

You May Be the First to Know

When you have a close relationship with a friend or family member, you may be the first one to notice symptoms. You may even be aware of them before your loved one. Take the first step by filling out a short questionnaire that may help you and your loved one’s doctor gain insight into your loved one’s symptoms. Working together with the doctor as part of a team may be helpful. You can talk over treatment options and go over how your loved one is feeling. Another important role you have is being an extra ear. Listening and jotting down notes at the doctor appointment can be helpful.

A Parents' Story

One patient’s parents noticed a change in their daughter’s behavior. Learn how they support their daughter living with bipolar depression.

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Just Listening Can Make Such a Difference

You may not realize it, but just listening and being there for a friend or family member who is dealing with the depression and manic symptoms of bipolar disorder can be helpful. That way, they’re reminded that they are not alone. Here are a few reasons you are an essential part of your loved one’s care:

  • Bringing distractions and fun into their lives
  • Easing up the loneliness
  • Noticing symptoms or changes in behavior
  • Reminding them of their strengths
  • Having meals together
  • Helping them rest (that may mean a nap for you, too)

Helpful Things to Bring Up

If you notice that your friend or family member is showing signs of depression, be sure to express your concern and keep reminding them that you are there for them. Here are few things that may be helpful to say:

  • "I care about you."
  • "You’re not alone—I’m here."
  • "You mean so much to me."
  • "You’re a worthwhile person who matters."
  • "I want to support you, even if I may not understand what you're going through."
  • "It’s not your fault. It’s your brain dealing with an illness."
  • "You can get through this! Don’t give up."
Caregiver Mood Disorder Questionnaire

Provide your loved one’s doctor with insights about their symptoms. Use this short questionnaire to guide your conversation.

Be Prepared for Emergencies

You may be the first one able to respond if your loved one has an emergency. So it’s a good idea to let them know how they can get a hold of you whenever possible. There’s also some information that’s important to have handy:

  • Doctor and pharmacy contact information
  • List of medications and dosage
  • Your loved one's insurance information
  • Phone numbers for bipolar depression hotlines and support group information

Above all, alert the health care team immediately if the symptoms of bipolar depression deepen and there may be a risk of suicide. Pay attention to any signs or comments that they may want to hurt themselves. Don’t think twice—call the doctor, emergency room, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255.

Help Your Loved One Discuss Bipolar Depression

Listen to previously diagnosed patients reflect on how they describe their bipolar depression to others.

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Sunovion Answers Is for You, Too

Committed to helping you support your loved one—with dedicated support specialists, savings and other useful resources.

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Track Your Loved One’s Moods

Use the Daily Mood Monitor to help get a better idea of how your loved one is feeling. Share the results together at their next doctor appointment.

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