• Courtney Diles

How to Make a Depression Care Package

If you know someone who is depressed and are feeling like you can't help, something you can do is to make a depression care package. They're much easier to make for women than for guys. For girls, I often refer to them as "Pamper Yourself" kits.

They can include:

Basic hygiene items to get them excited about self care. I think including a toothbrush and toothpaste is coming on too strong for most people, but they might be appropriate depending on the person. If you're going to include body wash, shampoo, or conditioner, invest in a fancy full-size type or the person's favorite instead of going with a cheap travel-size (unless they're about to go on a trip, I suppose). Including deodorant might be insulting unless it's fancy (like that new clear gel stuff). Sometimes hospitals provide antiperspirants that don't deodorize, so including deodorant might be appropriate in that case. You might want to avoid aerosol containers, because the person wouldn't be able to bring them into a hospital.

Razors are probably not appropriate. I've found really cute hairbrushes and pedicure kits (clippers won't be allowed in hospitals) at Dollar Tree. Loofahs are awesome - blue or green for men. If the person suffers from headaches or migraines, look for therapeutic face masks. If you include hair ties, make sure they're the type without metal, in case the person needs to go to the hospital.

- Tissue. Self-explanatory. 

- A happy movie. I usually use Sex and the City or Legally Blonde, depending on what I can find on sale at Wal-Mart or a used bookstore. For a guy, I would probably go with something superhero-related. 

- A blanket. For kids or women, this could come with a stuffed animal.

- Socks or slippers. They're good for self-care and required in hospitals. If you can afford to get the fancy aloe-infused spa socks with the rubber thingies on the bottom, that's a good investment. 

- If they have a pet, include treats for the pet.If there's a kid in their life, include something small for the kid. 

- Personalize it! If the person knits or crochets, include a skein of yarn.

- If they write, include a notebook. If they like coloring, include something they can color. (It doesn't have to be a book - they make mugs and pillows you can color, too.)

- A non-fiction book. Not Depression for Dummies. Some of the books in this list are good resources. I like The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon and The Upward Spiral by Alex Korb. A book about meditation might be a good idea.  

- A fiction book. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and The Hobbit contain a little violence but otherwise should be non-triggering. Pick out a book based on what you think the person in mind can handle. (For example, if they struggle with sexual assault, it's probably better not to risk getting them a fiction book about it.) Try to pick a book you yourself have read, so that way you know whether the content is appropriate, and you can talk about it after they read it. 

- A card. Sentimental is probably a better bet than funny. Write a sweet note in it, from the heart, and try to be empowering and avoid cliches. That's a tall order, I know. 

- A relaxing candle or potpourri. Be wary of candles that smell like food for anyone with an eating disorder. 

- A CD of ocean waves or calming music or a white noise machine.


Of course, these are all ideas and examples, and you don't have to include every single thing. The more thought you put into it though, the more the person will be able to appreciate it.

Have you ever made or received a care package like this? Is there anything I didn't think of?

Thank you for reading!

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