How to Help Someone Who is Depressed

“It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.” – Stephen Fry

When someone you know is depressed, it’s understandable if you feel helpless. If you’ve never suffered from clinical depression, how are you going to know what to say and do, or how it feels?

Ways to Help Someone with Depression

  • Listen. Keep in mind that the person with depression isn’t communicating well right now, and is probably speaking slower and less clearly. Be patient and don’t interrupt. Don’t be judgmental.
  • Take care of little tasks like feeding the cat or doing the laundry. (This suggestion applies if you don’t live with the person. If you do live with the person, you probably have to take on all the tasks).
  • Remember that the depressed person is not being lazy. Think of when you’re really sick and you can barely get out of bed to go to the bathroom. That’s how someone with depression can feel all the time.
  • Learn everything you can about depression. Knowledge is power and understanding.
  • Take it seriously if the person talks about suicide, especially if they’re talking about specifics. Call their doctor for advice on what to do, or take them to the emergency room if the threat is imminent. Questions you want to ask that will help the doctor determine the severity of the suicidal thoughts and feelings are:
    • Are you thinking about dying?
    • Are you thinking about hurting yourself?
    • Are you thinking about suicide?
    • Have you thought about how you would do it?
    • Do you know when you would do it?
    • Do you have the means to do it?
  • Encourage the individual to get professional help for depression if he or she is resisting.
  • If the individual has already started treatment, make sure the depressive is keeping doctor appointments and taking his or her medication.
  • Learn about 3 common  behaviors in people who are depressed.

Ways to Help Yourself

  • Take care of yourself. Depression can be “contagious.” Get out and do something for yourself alone.
  • Recognize that your feelings of anger, frustration and helplessness are valid. Talk to a therapist for help in dealing with them.
  • If you are in a sexual relationship with this person, don’t take it personally if they have lost interest in sex. Sexual drive is one of the first things to go when you’re depressed. Offer hugging and cuddling without an expectation of sex. Here are 10 tips for staying sane when your partner is depressed.
  • Know when to let go. After a certain point, especially if the depressed person is not getting help or taking their medicine, there’s nothing you can do. You have to move on with your own life.

Links

  • 10 Ways to Help Someone Who's Depressed
  • 5 Things to Do (And Not Do) to Support Someone With Depression
  • A Teenager's Guide to Depression: Tips and Tools for Helping Yourself or a Friend
  • Best Things to Say to Someone Who is Depressed
  • Depression Fallout
  • Families for Depression Awareness
  • Helping a Depressed Friend or Family Member
  • Helping a Depressed Person
  • How Family and Friends Can Help
  • How to Help Someone who is Depressed
  • If You Know Someone Who's Depressed
  • Loving Someone with Depression - Literally, Darling
  • What to Do When Someone You Love is Depressed
  • What to Do When Your Partner is Depressed
  • Worst Things to Say to Someone Who is Depressed
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    61 Comments

    1. Hi so Im 13 years I really dont know what to do with this situation but my one friend says he’s going through a really hard time and he has been having a few bad thoughts about himself. The thing is He lives so far away from me and I cant contact his parents just in case. And I also want him to know im there for him and that he is able to talk to me but I dont know how to say it without making him feel worse.Any idea’s on how I can tell him that im there for him and he can talk to me any right way to say it? I could really use the help.

      1. You’ve said it perfectly right there. That’s all he has to know – that you’re there for him to talk to about anything, even hurting himself. You might also recommend that he contact Samaritans.

    2. My husband suffers from depression and ptsd.. He doesn’t want to talk to anyone and doesn’t want meds because the VA fed him pain pills and he wound up addicted to them. Sip from that aspect understand but don’t understand why won’t talk someone. He gets mad because wants me to help him but i don’t know how to. He feels have given on him but it couldn’t any farther from the truth. I have no clue how help.

    3. Hi everyone I have a spouse who suffers from depression I really love this woman but sometimes it’s really hard for me to understand her when it comes to depression now only because I never been in a relationship where someone is depressed to this nature so far we’ve been together almost 2 years and in the past two years I have been through seeing scars on her arm from her cutting herself I have tried to hug and kiss and then pushed away for reasons that she says is not my fault but she just doesn’t feel like it I’m a naturally affectionate but some days I am even scared to make any emotional loving like gesture towards her because of what she might do from the either pushing me away or guarding herself against me you scared because I know I love this person with all my heart but some days I’m afraid that we’re not going to make it because as much as I’m trying to understand depression I don’t know nothing about it and rather I guess what I’m asking is what is the best way to help Wing someone from depression or saving from depression and is there any way to save somebody from the person

    4. Hi, well my gf of over 4 years left me as she thought it was for the “best”, she is depressed and admitted to it, she even said she needed to go to the doctors and that she will soon. However she just kept telling me to move on and be happy with someone else, no matter how many times I did tell her she was/is the only person I want and I would rather battle her depression with her than without her. I told her how much I love her and want to spend the rest of my life with her but nothing got through, I read up about depression and understood that they can’t really feel that positivity anymore. But I am still here hanging on, she blocked me from all communications so I am waiting here for her that maybe she will see sense and come round, I know it is a faint hope, but hope nevertheless. I can’t stand for people to say “you just need to move on” like how can I? She was/is my life and we were so happy, my feelings for her haven’t changed. Just wish she let me choose rather than deciding for me…. Whoever is depressed and is pushing their partners away, please please let your partners choose whether or not they want to carry on being in the relationship or if they want out, as more chances than none, all they want to do is support you because they love you, just accept it no matter how hard it is too. If my gf gave me that chance, I would stand by her 100% and I would never let her down, through sickness and in health we would stand together, well she took that chance away for me. She wanted me to be happy but didn’t realise I am sad more than ever as I am without her, oh the irony.

    5. These are some great tips for helping someone with depression. My brother has been struggling with this ever since our dad died. I’ll be sure to start doing some research to learn more about it, like you said.

    6. My friend is depressed nowadays, but she stays in another country. She is already having suicidal thoughts, and her parents are not understanding how grave this situation is. How shall I help?

    7. Thanks so much for such a helpful post, I found it interesting and I’m sure it will enable many to take action to help those they know with depression. I also agree that it is so important to look after oneself whilst assisting someone who has depression. The advice to know when to quick is also extremely important as many will find they get sucked deeper and deeper into a black hole and can become depressed themselves. Thanks again!

    8. Hi, I feel really helpless. My best friend is depressed and he thinks that that is enough and he should end his life. I don’t know what to do and i am very afraid. I don’t know what to say i am always afraid to say wrong things and then he will push me away !!!

    9. My boyfriend won’t admit he needs to see a Dr for Depression and be put on a light anti-depressant .. he is to the point where he could lose his job…he complains about everything..EVERYTHING!! WORRIES ABOUT EVERYTHING… SAID HE FEELS HELPLESS … UNHAPPY…DOESN’T WANT TO GO AND DO ANYTHING FUN… HOPELESS … SLEEP TROUBLE… APPETITE HAS CHANGED… HIS TONE OR VOICE IS MONO-TONE…

      ***WHAT DO I DO NEXT????:

    10. It’s appropriate time to make a few plans for the future and it’s time to be happy.
      I have read this put up and if I may I desire to counsel you few
      attention-grabbing things or advice. Perhaps you can write next articles referring to this article.
      I wish to learn even more things about it!

    11. Hi,
      Reading this article really made my jaw drop. Everything you’ve described is right on point. I’ve been struggling with depression and anxiety for the past year and a half and am a first year college student so it’s very tough at times when I don’t have any willingness to go and do anything.

      I think the hardest part of this struggle and having to deal with it is the impact on other people. I constantly feel like I am a burden on others and am just worthless and they don’t understand what I’m thinking or going through sometimes. I always get asked if I’m okay, and sometimes it gets exhausting, if I’m not always up and excited people become concerned. I’m a very introverted quiet person to begin with and sometimes I get tired of keeping this “act” of being so laughable and whatnot.

      I have been seeing a therapist for a year now and that has been helping tremendously considering I was ready to end it all last year. I still have my down days but I’m learning to love life. It does get tough but, I have learned that keeping a diary and being mindful of all my emotions and feelings throughout the day and keeping note was important.

    12. Hi,

      Im just looking for some answers regarding depression. My dad has had it for a long time, before i can even remember. But recently, my now recently ex was struggling with depression because of stress at uni etc.. we were in a pretty good relationship for 2 years, things started to get rocky once she started taking seraltine i think it was called which caused a rift between us. there was no more physical contact like that or even kissing etc. i tried to tell myself that i didnt mind, to try and understand what she was going through but one day she ended up breaking up with me over the phone out of nowhere saying she didnt want to be in a relationship anymore. she completely cut me off after that.. wouldnt answer the phone wouldnt txt me back wouldnt even see me not once and havent since a month ago. im just looking for answers, i go to therapy but i just dont know how it went downhill without me even seeing it coming. if anyone has any ways i can cope or knows what im going through please help me find a way to move on because at the moment its killing me :/

    13. My elder sister passed away, met with an accident? how do i get out of this? give me some tips to engage myself, do i need a therapist.. i dont need a doc.

      1. Hey sakshi,I can understand the pain of losing someone but you need to understand that you have to move on,you should try to find your hobbies and you should spend your time enjoying life and talking and playing with your friends and try to do some things which you have not done yet which you want to do.Your sister is watching you and she wants you to be happy,she does not want to see you sad and depressed when you think about her.Your happiness will give her peace.

    14. My daughter is so depressed she won’t talk to anyone or do anything. She is going to be homeless in a few days. The family has tried everything we can think of to help her, but she just won’t cooperate. None of the family the funds to help her or any room to keep her. We are at our wit’s end. Any suggestions. we are desparate.

      1. Hi! Not sure this too late as you made the post awhile ago. I was with my boyfriend for three years & he had gone through a really bad time of depression before I had met him, he even admitted to having suicidal thoughts. When we were together, it was obvious that his motivation for.. well life in general was not there. Thats when I had approached him and he admitted to still being depressed. I had stayed with him for a few years and I tried motivating him, helping him, encouraging him to seek help… but then I started to notice that his depression was beginning to affect me and drain me. Eventually I had to let him go in a sense that we are no longer in a relationship, however, I am still here for him if he needs me. I have moved on because at some point you have to start caring for yourself, too. What I’m trying to say is that if you’ve done all you believe you could have for your daughter, then just let her know that despite the fact that you’re letting her go, that you’ll always be there for her. The worst thing is to up and leave someone who is depressed making them feel completely alone. Hope this helped!

      2. Hi Betty – I just ran across your post. My daughter sounds just like you described yours. Were you able to break through to her, and if so, how? I hope things are better for her and the family by now.

    15. I only came here because I really want my boyfriend to understand what he can do to help me… But it gets worse every day, no matter how much he helps… I think about suicide literally every day. I can’t enjoy sex or our hobbies. We used to play video games together, but if I don’t do well, I’ll just cry and we can’t really play them anymore. I’ve lost interest in our anime and our shows. I don’t want to leave the house to go out. It’s ruining our relationship, and it’s my fault…

      So I have advice for people who are trying their best to help depressed people and can’t. I really think he ought to let me go… I wouldn’t blame him. Sometimes, you really just can’t help, even if you do all of these things…

      1. Please hang in there sweetheart. My loved one struggled for many years and making our lives very painful. BUT I love and care for him. He said painful things and told me to find someone else as we were not compatible etc. He would not even talk to me or want outside help. My only help is to seek God, my last resort. Have you heard Joel Osteen or Joyce Myer? They are quite good. Praying for you

      2. You are not beyond help. It’s alright that you are depressed, but please don’t ask or expect people to give up on you. Instead, I’d suggest speaking to a therapist – someone who can help you understand what you are going through. You are not hopeless.

    16. my brother is suffering from sever depression and has atempted suicide and says he will do it again. he’s on an anti-depressants but he’s still very angry and lashesout at everyone. He tells us that he doesn’t want to get better because he’s not sick he’s just a failure and a weak person who wants to die and he should be able to kill himself in peace. he has erratic sleep patterns, barely eats and almost never leaves his room. and if he does leave his room it’s with plenty of complaint. he’s been like this for close to a year now and has no job, not going to school, and no girlfriend. He goes to the therapist and takes his medicine to make my mom happy and makes that clear to everyone. I just don’t know what to do. I’m so afraid he’s going to kill himself.

      1. Hi Jessica,I think you should try to help your brother realize that he can help people who also
        think of doing suicide,he can save their lives. Then he may understand that he is not useless and he has a future and his life is important.

    17. My daughter has been diagnosed with depression she has talked to me a bit but when I hear crying on the phone at night it’s heartbreaking. When I ask her if I can help she tells me to go away. What should I do?

      1. Hi Jane,I think that you should try to spend more time with your daughter doing the things that she likes and you should try to complete her hobbies then you should tell her that she can talk to you about anything and you will try your best to understand her and solving her problems.

    18. I’m struggling right now. my husband and I both suffer from chronic depression, bipolar disorder, social anxiety. his episodes are VERY emotionally draining. we’ve been together 15yrs. and it has gotten worse over the years. of course I want to help him feel better, but it’s very difficult as I too suffer and tend to focus more on him, but lately I just don’t have the energy to deal with anything.he has no insurance so isn’t medicated, this makes it even more difficult. I don’t have anyone to talk to about this or even know what to do anymore. comments welcome

      1. Hi Steph,I think that you and your husband should try to join some sports club or yoga classes or something in which you are interested like music,dance,art etc. where both of you can make some friends,you can talk to them,you can enjoy your life which will help you in getting out of stress and depression.

      2. I feel depressed a lot I don’t want to go down town any more the shops change a lot for me I get the past a lot now I don’t think people around me are real any more or my family.

    19. have a depress person in a situation where they feel in control, needed, or where they can share things that they enjoy or they have some kind of experience of expertise.

      For example, having a depress people help another depress people like what this site is doing.

    20. My mum recently split from my dad. Every one was so surprised because they seemed so solid. She has now resorted to smoking, I’m afraid she will end up being depressed just like my dad. I would be glad to have any advice if anyone has been through something similar.

      1. Hi sammy,you should tell your mum that she is not alone,she have your full support in everything and you will be always there for her.Try to spend more time with your mother enjoying her hobbies and tell her that it is not the end of her life and she should try to make new friends and find a new partner.You should also help her finding new hobbies and doing those things that she wanted to do and she had not done yet.

      1. Hello you can talk with me anytime you wish to. I might not be the best adviser but I can listen to your problems. Feel free and I believe you can undergo. 🙂

        1. I am a diagnosed Bipolar adult. I have a friend whom is extremely depressed and I am not mentally and/or emotionally stable enough to help her in the ways that I have researched. I can not find anyone to help me help her.

    21. Hi my name is Cody Lynne Lingenfelter and I need help I’ve been living with my mom for 21 years and it’s been great but lately she’s been unbearable to live with it’s gotten to the point that Im scared to facetime my boyfriend because she’ll ask how Lon I’ve been on there with him like she likes him but I don’t think I can handle her negativeity anymore

      1. Living with your parents can always be hard. Though, I don’t think your mom is trying to be as negative as you think. After living with your child for 21 years, and then them being in a serious relationship may be a little hard for her. It’s possible she just doesn’t want you to grow away from her.

          1. Hi Rida,maybe I can help you to get you out of depression and I do not think that you are syco, I think that you are absolutely normal and you just need to talk to someone who can understand you.

    22. I am really faltered the way you describe Depression problem this is a common problem in every persons life the wont get rest and instead depress all the time I think your post might be useful them alot good one keep on posting thanks for the info see you again

    23. Thank you very much for this site! I am at my worst when I believe nobody understands, nobody cares and I am completely on my own.
      Stumbling upon this page has helped me a lot!

      One thing I want to share about safety – As we know one of the symptoms of depression is losing feelings. I was not prepared to lose my felling of fear. One night I went out for a walk long after dark because I didn’t want to run into people I know. I was cutting through a park and was approached by 3 boys asking for money. After I told them I had no money nor credit cards on me, one of them asked the others if, basically they should check it out for themselves. Another boy replied saying, “Nah. She’s telling the truth; she is not even scared.” They left. So if you have a family member who wants to go for a walk by themselves, it’s probably a good idea that someone follows at a safe distance.

    24. I struggle with depression. Well, Bipolar 2. So it comes and goes. But I am glad to find sights like this that help me know I am not alone. Thank you for your insights.
      This is another sight that gives a good insight into depression. If anyone wants to check it out. http://www.thedarkcycle.com

    25. My father has depression. It has been hard on my parents marriage, my mum did everything to help him. He didn’t take his medication, he talked about how life was unfair. He yelled at us. He has never hurt us though. Depression changes a person. My parents don’t feel or act the same as they did when they got married. Hope it helped.
      Good luck to anyone with depression. God bless

      1. Same with my spouse who struggled with it. I got blamed for making him to go back on medication. It was my and the world faults. In reality,sometimes when we care too much and over did it and making situation worse. I am learning to love and to care in a distance in the meantime fond something to soothe my pain,hurt…self care is critical if I want to help him. Hope your mom will be ok and same to the rest of the family

    26. Is it normal for a 16 year old to be depressed? I’m really worried about one of my friends. He can’t find anything good in life without his ex and all he does is drink so he will be happy for a while then he goes back to being depressed and the cycle goes on and on and I just don’t know what to do with him anymore. I’ve tried a bunch of different things and I just can’t seem to help him in anyway and I’m stuck on what to do. He also said that he would like to die but he doesn’t have the guts to kill himself. I’m really scared because he’s my best friend and I don’t know what I would do without him.

    27. I be depressed all the time I lay down a low I work in my yard too keed my mind going but now I cant do that because I end up in hospital the other day because of the heat pressure kelp going up and I get there its some going on with my heart and they all so said they found stree on my heart I just don’t know what too do I talk too my doctor but nothing have not been done about it yet I be depress so much it make my head hurt soooooo bad what too do what too do

    28. Dealing with depression is so hard especially when growing up, sometimes you just don’t want to do anything at all but sleep or lock yourself in your room but depression affects people differently. There are ways to be victorious over depression.

    29. I would suggest that if a person is talking about suicide, it’s probably best to ask questions to determine whether or not the person is in immediate danger of killing themselves. Questions such as “Have you made a plan to kill yourself?” might shed some light on the immediate state of the person. If the person is suicidal it’s not a good idea to wait and “call their doctor”. The best move would be to enlist emergency services to protect the persons life.

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