This is a part of the Hot Topic podcast series from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center on TBI and Depression. Dr. Jesse Fann discusses Importance of a Support System.

It’s very important for patients to engage their support system in their care. For example, if they have a spouse or a family member or even a close friend, to involve them in their depression care. Sometimes bringing them to their counseling sessions can be very helpful, and working with a therapist to really see how they can support them in implementing the counseling but also making sure that they stay active, that they engage in activities, that they get out of the house, et cetera.

If they don’t already have a good support system, which can be a major reason why they are depressed, if they’re more isolated, for example, it’s a good idea for counselors to work with patients to try to beef up their support system, find ways to find people to help support them. And a traumatic brain injury support group can be one way of doing that.

A support system does a lot of things. For example, it not only helps get you out of the house and gets you active, which we know is very helpful for recovery from depression, it also helps people get a perspective of the world so that they’re not so focused on their own problems. It helps to provide positive reinforcement for the positive things that they’re doing.

And it also helps them stay away from – sometimes help them stay away from bad habits such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, things like that. And finally, it just helps people get away from getting too isolated and lonely and can really encourage and motivate them to engage in positive activities like exercise, getting outside into the fresh air, and other activities, hobbies, et cetera that they really enjoy.

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