My Mom is depressed.

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My mom is 44 years old and she is depressed. She and my little sister live by themselves. In February she quit her job and they currently have no income at all. She has been living off of her tax refund. She was supposed to use this money to buy a car, (she had been walking to her place of work because it was close by) but instead she used it all on bills and now she doesn't even have enough to buy a car. She is almost broke and will soon have no money to pay her bills. She doesn't even want to try. She lays in her bed all day and refuses to put job applications in anywhere. I recommended that she try signing up on disability but she wouldn't do that. She won't leave the house. Won't even go grocery shopping. I don't know how to help her. If she doesn't do something, and soon, she's not gonna have the money to pay her bills even.
I want to help her but I don't know how. I have very little income, a part-time job, and I barely scrape by myself every month. I live in an apartment building that is strict on how many people stay with you, so it's not like I can move her in. I have no idea how to help her, or make her want to help herself. She won't even try anymore.

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Is this new behavior for your mom? Did something happen to her in February to trigger this?
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My mom hallucinates, imagines terrible things and thinks she is in prison or a nursing home without her anti-anxiety meds! She takes 1 mg. Alprazalam twice a day. When in a hospital for 4 days she was threatening to break the windows if they didn't keep their word and sign her out. I thought I might have to physically restrain her. Got her to the retirement home gave her two pills and an hour later she was acting near normal again. But still believes the outrageous stories she told went on at the hospital. Do what you have to, if it works she will thank you later, or not, :-). But she will be better than she is now. God bless all that you do, and those with the wise suggestions above.
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I agree with jeanne. Also getting people into "mental health" is sometimes too embarassing for them. IF she is willing, call your local crisis line and see where there might be a free clinic for either mental health, or for public health. Sometimes people will agree to go for the side benefits, believing that normal people just tough it out with depression. Side benefits could be 1) improved sleep 2) decrease in body pains 3) able to meet responsibilities of caring for her daughter 4) able to concentrate and problem solve improves 5) being depressed around her daughter is not good for your sister, both of you are worried about mom.

IF she is suicidal or hearing voices this becomes more urgent, and the crisis line can refer you to the appropriate local resource.

IF she has a primary care doctor and refuses mental health, and is not suicidal, have her talk with her doctor (to see if there is anything medically wrong) but also email the doctor and advise him that your mom is so depressed she quit work.

Somewhere in this see if she can get on disability. That means some doctor needs to sign that her depression prevents her from working.

See if she can get on a list for low income housing, it takes years to make it into a low income apartment.

Watch her to be sure that she does not become suicidal. Depression is progressive and irrational. Your world view becomes increasingly limited, like sinking to the bottom of a well, the opening is smaller and smaller, the way up seems increasingly impossible. All not based on reality, but on an increasingly limited ability to generate hopeful thoughts.

Keep her involved in stuff, dinner at McDonalds, video nights at home. Window shopping at the mall.

Good Luck. Your crisis line can be a big help. (I used to work on a couple)
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Depression is a serious illness, as you are seeing. It is also treatable. It isn't as easy as getting a shot of an antibiotic, but it is treatable. Has Mom ever been treated?

One problem is that persons with severe depression seldom take the initiative. That may be the role you have to take for her. If any of you are on a program where you have a case worker, start with that person. He or she should be able to direct you to appropriate mental health resources. If there is no case worker yet, Google Mental Health Services for your state to find options close to you.

Treating depression is not a do-it-yourself project. But once Mom has a treatment plan you can be supportive in encouraging her/helping her to take her medications as directed and to attend her appointments.

It is very loving of you to be so concerned. I think once you bring some professional help into the picture things will begin to improve.
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Low-fat diets can affect mood and are often associated with depression. Your mom might be helped if she can get some some good fats in her (meaning natural, not trans or hydrogenated fats). Real butter, olive oil, fish oil, fatty meats without bad chemicals added -- all are good. I realize she doesn't have much funds for expensive foods. But some forms of fat, like a bottle of extra virgin olive oil or a jar of organic coconut oil last quite a while and are worth the investment. .
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Do you have family members or could you care for your sister? If you can manage to have good care for your sister within the family I might suggest calling child protective services or the crisis line in your county and share your concerns. They will send someone to check on your Mom and sister. If you have someone to care for your sister they will not place your sister in foster care if there is a family member to care for her. They will get your mom an evaluation and help her with a caseworker and get her set up for services. She might need to be involuntarily committed if she will not cooperate. I work in inpatient mental health and people like your mom often do very well with the right support and treatment. I would do your best to have a good place for your sister to stay before you call the county because they will likely want to remove her from the home until your mom has worked through a treatment program.
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The only two solutions I can think of that will help right away is to see a doctor for treatment and to have her apply for disability. Depression is a serious illness. I hope she can get disability until she gets back on her feet.
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How old is your sister? How is she?
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Wow, that is so tough - your mom is really young so she has a long future ahead of her. My teenage daughter and my elderly mother (93 years old now!) both suffer from depression and we have found that medication truly helps. If she would only agree to get an evaluation, I think they would start her on meds to at least get her back on track. Does she have MassHealth? good luck - take care of yourself too - its very draining trying to assist a family member with depression.
Nancy
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Talk to your caseworker and explain mom's situation. They may be able to find a suitable apartment for the three of you.
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