Support from friends and family for people who are going through a difficult time in their lives can prevent the onset of depression, according to a new American study.
It seems quite obvious, but there is now scientific work that proves it: according to a study by the University of Michigan (in the United States), providing support to people who are going through a stressful period in their lives helps protect them against depression – even in the case of genetic vulnerability.
The American researchers worked from medical data concerning 1,011 doctors in training and 435 men and women who had recently faced the death of their partner. Among doctors in training, depressive symptoms had increased by +126% during their first year of study; among young widows and widowers, by +34% compared to before death.
Scientists have found that among young widows and widowers and among doctors in training, those who were regularly supported by friends and family were at risk of depression significantly lower than the others.
Help with everyday life, or simply offer a listening ear
What do you mean by “providing support” to someone who is going through a difficult time? For the researchers, it may be a matter of material help (help with shopping, cleaning, babysitting, etc.) or more psychological help (listening attentively and without judging ).
The scientists point out that, while their study specifically focused on family and friend support, professional support can also be helpful in the event of a “hard blow”: they therefore recommend that people who are going through a difficult moment turn (if possible) to a psychologist, a psychotherapist or even a psychiatrist.
Source :American Journal of Psychiatry