How To Help Someone With Depression

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One thing that having depression taught me is that not everyone knows how to help someone who is depressed.

Depression isn’t like a physical ailment, you can’t put a plaster on and ‘you’re good’.

When you are depressed, it can feel impossible to ask for help. This is because of two things. One, because of the stigma associated with mental illness and two, because we don’t actually know what you can do to help us.

I remember when I first opened up about my depression. My family was pretty understanding having previously dealt with depression before however, everyone who has depression knows someone who doesn’t understand how to help someone with depression.

That’s why I want to share some tips on how you can help a friend with depression.

If you have a loved one who is struggling with depression, they may:

  • seem sad or upset
  • be more negative than normal
  • seem tired or distracted
  • cancel plans
  • care less about their usual interests
  • become distant
  • have less energy
  • show less interest in their physical appearance
  • seem forgetful or have trouble remembering things
  • talk about suicide or death

If you have a friend or loved one who is depressed, here are 6 ways you can be there for them.

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Listen to them

When your friend opens up to you about their feelings, one of the worst things you can do is offer advice. Instead, simply listen to your friend and allow them to open up about their thoughts and emotions.

When you are suffering from depression, advice is the last thing you need. Depression makes you feel alone like no one cares. So, you might mean well but advice doesn’t allow you, friend, to open up to you.

What you can do.

Ask your friend if they want to talk about their feelings. Offer them a safe, interrupted space to open up. Lend them a compassionate ear and allow them to freely express their thoughts and feelings.

Learn more about depression

Understanding depression is essential to helping someone who is struggling. Unlike physical ailments, depression is physiological and can’t be fixed with a bandage.

What you can do.

Research depression. The causes, different support options, and how you can be there for someone who is struggling. Understanding depression will allow you to better support your loved one.

Related Post | 7 ways I’m improving my mental health

Help them find support

The best way to overcome depression is through professional help and support. Counseling and therapy and great ways to manage depression and begin managing your mental health.

What you can do.

Research local or online therapy options for your friend. Find helpful articles on mental health and understand depression. It is also a great idea to research ways to improve your mental health like journaling.

Another way to support your loved one is to help them out with day to day activities. Cook a meal, help them tidy the house or organize a movie night. These little acts of kindness will show your friend that you care.

Related post | How to journal for depression and anxiety

Pay attention to your thoughts, words, and actions

When you’re supporting a friend with depression, it is important to choose your words carefully. Depression causes people to overthink and catastrophize.

What you can do.

Looking into depression and understanding this illness will help you have a deeper understanding. Be aware of your words and actions around your depressed friends. Don’t blame them or get mad as this will make them feel worse. Tough love does not work when it comes to mental illness.

Check in with them

Depression makes you feel as if no one cares about you. This is why it’s important to check in with your friends if they are struggling with depression.

What you can do.

Text or call your friend every couple of days to ask how they are. Don’t push them, simply show them that you care. Send them funny videos or pictures that you know they will like.

Respect their privacy

Your friend may not be comfortable opening up about their feelings. This is completely normal and instead of pushing them, it is important to respect their privacy.

What you can do.

Let them know you are always there to talk if they want to. Don’t suffocate them or ask too many questions. Encourage them to seek professional help and counseling.

Final notes

Although it may seem overwhelming, your friend will greatly appreciate your understanding and support. While helping a friend overcome depression, it is important to take care of your own mental health. Take some time to practice self-care because you cannot help others if you cannot help yourself.

How To Help Someone With Depression

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2 thoughts on “How To Help Someone With Depression

  1. Michele ·

    These are some really great tips, my son suffers from depression and I am there for him always but i tend to give advce a lot when sometimes he doesn’t ask for it! Depression is the hardest thing to watch someone you love go through, i feel so helpless!! Thanks for writing such a great, important post!