How to Respond when Someone Says They Have Depression

Опубликовал Admin
25-04-2022, 22:10
It’s likely that at some point in your life, you’ll know someone who struggles with depression. If a friend or family member has disclosed their depression to you, you’re probably wondering how you can help support them. Depression is a serious illness, and responding in a constructive way after someone talks to you about their mental health is important. We’re here to help by walking you through how to respond when someone tells you they have depression.

1 of 13:“I care about you.”

  1. Give your friend a sign that they're important to you. When someone discloses their depression to you, they need to hear that they matter to other people. Fill that role for them: immediately let them know how much you care about them. You can also say things like:
    • "You mean a lot to me."
    • If you're very close: "I love you."

2 of 13:“I’m here for you.”

  1. By disclosing their depression, your friend is looking for support. Telling them that you’re there for them during this difficult time is really crucial. Some other useful ways to respond include:
    • "How can I best support you right now?"
    • "Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to make things easier for you."

3 of 13:“Can we talk about it?”

  1. Give your friend the opportunity to share how they’re feeling. Your friend might feel uncomfortable sharing more details with you right now—that’s okay too. It’s enough to let them know that you’re available if they ever want to discuss this with you in the future. You can also say:
    • "Tell me more about how you’re feeling, if you’re up to it."
    • "I’d like to talk through this with you, if you want."

4 of 13:“This must be really hard. I’m so sorry.”

  1. Empathy is really valuable in times like this. Let your friend know that, although you can’t fully understand what they’re going through, you feel for them. Empathy is about recognizing the impact of depression, so try saying something like:
    • "I know this experience must be really painful for you."
    • "I'm sorry you're going through this."

5 of 13:“Thank you for sharing this with me.”

  1. Confessing your depression to someone can be scary. After someone discloses their depression to you, they need to hear that they made the right decision. Reassure your friend by saying something like:
    • "Thank you for feeling comfortable enough to tell me this. It really means a lot."
    • "Being open about depression can be hard. I'm honored that you shared this with me."

6 of 13:“I know you’ll get through this.”

  1. Depression does not have to be a life-long condition. Giving your friend some hope of recovery is important, since many people with depression feel fated to suffer forever. Reassure your friend by saying something like:
    • "Depression isn’t anything to be ashamed of—many people experience it and recover. You won’t have to deal with this forever."
    • "I know it can be hard to have hope some days, but you won’t feel like this forever, even if it feels that way sometimes."
    • A gentle reminder that depression isn’t permanent is enough. Be careful about giving someone with depression too many opinions about how they can make things better. In most cases, they just want someone to listen to them.

7 of 13:“Being depressed doesn’t mean you’re weak.”

  1. Depression is an illness, not a character defect. Many people with depression feel like they’re weak or feel guilty for their condition in other ways. Offer emotional support by saying something like:
    • "You’re not a weak person for having depression. You’re strong for being able to struggle with these feelings, and I want to be here for you while you do it."
    • Avoid saying things like "Stay positive" or "Snap out of it." Responses like that can be very painful for someone with depression to hear.
    • The causes of depression are still being studied, but psychologists agree that it’s a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. In other words, it’s not a choice to be depressed.

8 of 13:“I’ve been there, too. I understand your feelings.”

  1. If you’ve struggled with depression, your personal experience is valuable. Talking about how you felt when you were depressed can help your friend feel less alone. Start by talking about how you felt about depression. Remember that everyone’s experience is different, but you may find some points of connection.
    • You might say, "I remember those feelings of depression really well. It felt impossible for me to ever get out of bed, and I would just start crying at the most random times."
    • If you haven’t struggled with diagnosed depression, don't try to relate to your friend's experience. Depression goes beyond normal sadness. You can be a better source of support by just listening.

9 of 13:“Tell me about how things are going otherwise.”

  1. You already have a relationship with your friend; depression doesn’t change that. A depressed person still has the same interests and passions as before, even if their illness can make it difficult to engage with them anymore. You don’t need to only talk about depression with your friend—ask them about other aspects of their lives, too.
    • If the conversation is too tough, doing something like watching a movie or TV, taking a walk, or listening to music together can help your friend feel less alone.

10 of 13:“How about we take a trip over the weekend?”

  1. A future trip can give your friend something to look forward to. Try not to draw attention to their depression when you make these suggestions—depressed people can often feel like a burden, and you don’t want to make it seem like you’re only spending time with them out of obligation. Say something like:
    • "Maybe we could go to the beach next week."
    • "Let’s go watch a movie on Thursday."

11 of 13:“Need a ride to work?”

  1. Help your friend with tasks like groceries, transportation, or childcare. Depression can make it difficult for a person to accomplish daily activities, and your support can really make a difference. Sending your friend a text like "Hey, I’m at the grocery store—can I pick anything up for you?" will let them know you care about them and make their life a little bit easier.
    • Helping your friend with small tasks can be helpful, but try not to do everything for them since that can make them feel helpless. It’s important for someone with depression to do things for themselves so they can feel empowered.

12 of 13:“I have to ask—have you had thoughts of hurting yourself?”

  1. Be aware that a friend with major depression is at risk of suicide. Although talking about suicide can feel terrifying, it’s important to bring this topic up if you think your friend may be suicidal. Ask them something like, "I care about you a lot, and I need to know if you’ve been struggling with self-harm."
    • If your friend says yes, please get in touch with their close friends and family immediately. If you can reach their doctor or a mental health professional, do so. Keeping your friend’s experiences confidential is important, but this situation is too serious to not seek help.
    • You can also find support and guidance with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Contact 1-800-273-8255 to speak with a trained counselor.

13 of 13:“Let’s work on finding you a therapist.”

  1. Most people with depression need treatment to recover. Luckily, there have been major strides in both medication and therapeutic interventions that have been scientifically proven to help treat depression. Encourage your friend to seek these options out by saying something like:
    • "I know you’re going through a lot now, but I really think talking to a professional can help you sort out your feelings. Can I help you find an appointment?"
    • Helping your friend get treatment by offering transportation to their appointments or help finding a therapist can be really invaluable. Try your best to help your friend stay on track with their treatment plan when they get one by checking-in on them once in a while.


  • Physical touch in tough situations can be extremely comforting. After someone first discloses their depression to you, give them a hug to let them know you’re there for them. If you’re sitting down, a hand squeeze can also be appropriate.
  • Some people may not feel comfortable with being physically touched, and you should respect these boundaries. If you aren’t sure if a hug is appropriate, it’s okay to ask by saying something like, “Can I give you a hug?”
  • Caring for someone with depression can sometimes feel overwhelming. You owe it to yourself and your friend to stay healthy. Don’t be hard on yourself if your friend is sometimes angry or distant—remind yourself that you’re trying your best.
  • Check-in with your friend regularly, but you don’t have to be on call 24/7.
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