8 Ways to Help a Friend With Depression

Kristen SchouKristen Schou
Feb 23, 2018

Friendships are important in any aspect of life, whether you’re going through mental illness or not friends are so great to have with you through the rough times. I know when I was going through my depression having a friend there to support me was something that helped me through my recovery.

So you’re either watching this video because you want your friend to support you or you are a friend to someone who has depression, and you’re wondering, how can I support them? I’m going to be talking about eight ways to support a friend through depression.

8 Ways to Help a Friend With Depression

1. Educate Yourself About Depression

What is depression? What are the misconceptions of depression? What are the symptoms of depression?

The more you understand depression, the more you can help your friend. You know a little bit about what they’re going through, and you know the misconceptions of what to say, what not to say, and not going in not blind.

You would like resources on how to educate yourself on depression, NewLifeOutlook Depression is a great place to start.

2. Improve the Way You Talk About Mental Illness

Do not talk negatively about mental health problems around your friend because this could be something that stigmatizes what they’re going through.

  • Don’t say “I’m so depressed” when you’re only a little bit sad.
  • Don’t say someone is crazy.
  • Don’t say someone is insane.

These are negative terms used in the mental health community.

3. Show Your Support

Instead of posting suicide hotlines on Facebook and just passively saying that you’re there for somebody, show them. Show someone that you care about them.

4. Listen to Them

Listening is something that is so important when someone is going through depression. Sometimes someone just needs somebody to talk to, and you can be there. When you are listening just let them talk.

Don’t interrupt them, don’t judge them, the things they’re going to say. Right now they just need someone to talk to, and you’re that person, so listen.

5. Ask Them What They Need

The internet tells us all these things that people need when they are depressed, but your friend, the person that you are supporting, knows what they need the most. It’s a great thing just to say, “Hey, I can see that you’re maybe going through a bit of a hard time, is there anything that I can do? What can I do for you?”

Let them tell you what they need and then try to support them in the way that they need you.

6. Talk About Treatment

Tell them that treatment is out there, counseling, support groups, and therapy. Sometimes people with depression don’t feel like they deserve the help that they need, but they do.

So try to encourage them toward treatment, toward talking to somebody, like a professional or a doctor. Also, sometimes it’s beneficial to tell them “If you need someone to go with you to a doctor’s appointment, I can do that.”

7. Support Their Healthy Behaviors

There are a lot of negative behaviors that happen with some types of depression, including isolation, overeating, putting themselves down. So, support the healthy behaviors.

If you see them going out, making that push to get out there and do something like go to the store or go to the coffee shop, say “I want to let you know that I see that and I see that what your doing is a good thing.”

8. Take Care of Yourself

Do self-care, make boundaries for yourself. You cannot help this person 24/7, and you need a boundary. Sometimes people with depression, they will rely on that one person, that’s a safe person, but that might be draining for you.

Just know that you can’t help someone fully if you’re not helping yourself. If your mental health’s bad, you can’t help other people. I hope these tips helped you.

Please let me know down below how has someone helped you with depression, or how have you helped someone else with their depression, because what helps you, or what helped you could help somebody else.

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