10 ways to help someone with depression (2023)

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 21 million adults in the US suffer from depression.Because it's one of the most common mental health conditions, there's a good chance that you or someone you know has experienced at least one episode of depression in their lifetime.

If someone you love has depression, you might be wondering how they canhelp. You may even experience a variety of difficult feelings, such as worry, disappointment, and anger.

This article looks at how to help someone with depression. It focuses on strategies you can use to support andencourage your loved one to seek treatment for their condition.

If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, contactSubstance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Hotlineem1-800-662-4357for information about support and treatment centers in your area.

For more mental health resources, check out ourNational Database of Support Lines.

General description

If you live with someone who is depressed and you see their day to day life, you might feel confused and even scared at times. And if you've never been depressed, you might find it hard to imagine how you feel. You might not know much about him.causes of depression,How is it diagnosed, whattreatment optionsare available.

It may help to know that it's normal to feel confused, overwhelmed, or unsure of what you can do to help. Rather than letting these fears stop you from helping, use your concern to learn more about the condition and guide your search for ways you can help.

Social support can play an important role in mental well-being, including a protective role against depression.Letting your friend know that you care and want to help can be an important first step.

There are many steps you can take to educate yourself about your loved one's experience of depression, but you must also look after your own mental health and well-being.

How to help someone with depression

While each person's experience with depression is unique (as is the experience ofsupport someone who is depressed) Here are some ideas to get you started. Learning more about supporting someone with depression can help you feel more empowered and ready to help.

(Video) 15 Ways to Support Someone with Depression

Take care

You won't be able to support another person if you feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Periodically take time to remove yourself from the situation and recharge your batteries.

While you can't "catch" depression the way you might catch a cold or the flu, thegenetic and environmental influencesit can make people who live together or are members of the same family more likely to be depressed.

acknowledge your feelings

Depression can be demanding both for the person experiencing it and for those who care about it. Remember that your feelings are a valid response to what can be, at times, a challenging situation to navigate.

You may find it helpful to find a support group for caregivers, talk to a close friend, or see a counselor. The important thing is to vent your frustrations instead of allowing them to build up.

How social support contributes to your well-being

Know the facts about depression

There are reliable resources on the Internet that providefacts about depression, including symptoms and treatment. Read about what depression is like, as well as the myths, misconceptions andstigma around mental illness, can help you better understand your loved one's experience.

research your rights

You should also learn about other aspects of living with depression, such asinformed consentand the legal rights of people seeking treatment. You may also want to educate yourself and your loved one about thedisability lawsin your state for people who have a mental illness.

be solidarity

Sometimes the most helpful thing you can offer someone who is going through a difficult time is your presence. Simply providing aattentive earor a shoulder to cry on can be very comforting. Be patient and let your loved one know you are there for them.

You may decide to share what you've learned about depression from your research, but the most important thing you can tell them is that you understand.depression is not your faultand who are not lazy, weak, or useless.

(Video) How to Help Someone With Depression or Anxiety

What to say to someone who is depressed

it's not personal

Depression can affect a person's social skills and make them feel less inclined to be around other people. They can become withdrawn, shy, moody and angry.

While it can be difficult to be the target of an outburst, when someone who is depressedlash out in angerPlease note that it may not be related to you; you might be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

When your loved one pulls away from you, it can be really hard not to take it personally, especially if you're in a romantic relationship. If your partner doesn't want to have sex, you may feel rejected or fear that your partner doesn't love you anymore.

Try to keep in mind thatloss of sexual desireIt is a classic symptom of depression. Sexual dysfunction can also be amedication side effectI used to treat him.

Depressed Relationships: 10 Ways to Support a Partner Who is Depressed

Avoid judgment and blame

If someone you love is depressed and can no longer do the activities they used to, including working or helping around the house, you might feel like you're lazy. When you get frustrated, try to remember that someone who is depressed is not lazy, they are sick.

daily activities likeCleaning the house, paying bills or feeding the dog can feel overwhelming, if not impossible, for someone who is depressed. If your loved one's household responsibilities are piling up, you may not be able to handle them alone.

In addition to resisting the urge to blame your loved one, try not to blame yourself either. Know that it's okay if you need to ask for help.

(Video) How to Help Someone With Depression: 32 Tips for When They Don't Want to Talk: Depression Skills #2

understand medications

Many people with depression take medication, if not several. A practical way to help them is to learn how the medicine works, what the side effects are and what signs to look out for that the treatment is not working or that your loved one has stopped taking a medicine (for example,withdrawal symptoms).

It can also help them remember to refill prescriptions, keep their pills organized, make sure they are taking their medications as prescribed, and reassure them that they aren't "crazy" about taking them.

Press play for tips on how to treat depression

Hosted by editor-in-chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode ofPodcast The Verywell Mind, with singer-songwriter Andy Grammer, shares how therapy can help treat depression. Click below to listen now.

10 ways to help someone with depression (1)

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learn about therapy

In addition to learning about the medication options available, spend some time researching the therapy options available to treat depression. Types of therapy that may be helpful for your loved one:

  • cognitive behavioral therapyIt's an approach that helps people recognize and change the negative thinking patterns that play a role in depression symptoms.
  • interpersonal therapyfocuses on helping people improve their communication skills and interpersonal relationships.
  • dialectical behavior therapyIt is a type of therapy that incorporates aspects of mindfulness and helps people learn to manage stress, improve relationships and regulate their emotions.

Find a support group

support groupsIt can be a beneficial resource for people with depression, as well as their friends and family. Talking with others who share your experience can be a great way to find encouragement and support. Other members may also offer tips, suggestions, and resource information that you may find useful.

In addition to the face-to-face support groups that may be available in your community, there are also online anddepression chatswhere you can talk about your experiences and share what you're feeling.

The best support groups for depression

(Video) 7 Things to Say to Someone With Depression

offer hope

Offer your loved one hope in whatever way they are able to accept it. It could be a faith in God or some other kind of higher power, your kids or pets, or anything in your life that makes you want to keep living.

Know what's important to your loved one and find ways to remind them when you're feeling down and hopeless. Make sure you remember these things as well.

If someone with depression is showingsigns of suicidal ideation, self-harm, or if you are concerned that they are planning a suicide attempt, they need immediate help.

For the safety of your loved one, be aware of the warning signs that may indicate suicidal tendencies, such as:

  • worry about death
  • Create a will or donate assets
  • Speak openly about wanting to commit suicide
  • Say goodbye like it's the last time
  • Elaboration of a suicide plan, acquisition of the means to carry it out, "rehearsal" behavior, marking time for the attempt
  • Statements like "You would be better off without me" or "I wish I could go to sleep and never wake up".
  • Suddenly going from very depressed to very happy or calm for no apparent reason

Suicide risk factors and warning signs

unconditionally love

People who are depressed often feel a deep sense of guilt. They may believe that they are a burden to those around them. Sometimes they even begin to feel that their loved ones would be "better off" with them.

One of the ways to combat these feelings is to regularly show and say that youlove them unconditionally. When you're feeling down or angry, it's important to reassure them that you're frustrated with their illness, not them.

links and resources

In addition to learning more about supporting the person you care about, it may also be helpful to explore links to some of thebest depression resourcesthat can offer more tools, information and support.

Some resources that can help include:

  • National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Hotline (SAMHSA):visite onlineor call 1-800-662-4357
  • National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI):visite online, call 1-800-950-6264 or text NAMI 741741
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline:visite onlineor league 988

A Word from Verywell

When you care about someone with depression and are trying to figure out how best to help, some support is essential. Whether it comes from others in your life or a caregiver support group, taking care of yourself not only strengthens your ability to help your loved one, but it is also a positive example of good self-care.

(Video) 10 Ways to Deal with Depression

What not to say to someone who is depressed


What are 3 strategies that she can do to help with her depression? ›

You can also make lifestyle changes that can improve your self-esteem, such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and spending time with friends who make you feel good about who you are.

What are the two solutions to depression? ›

Depression can be mitigated with a proper diagnosis and treatment.
  • Here are the 5 most common solutions for depression: Living with depression can feel like living under a dark, desolate, isolating cloud of doom. ...
  • Medication Management. ...
  • Lifestyle Changes. ...
  • Meditation. ...
  • Challenging Negative Thoughts.

What are the 6 tips to improve mental health? ›

Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life.
  1. Connect with other people. Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. ...
  2. Be physically active. ...
  3. Learn new skills. ...
  4. Give to others. ...
  5. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)

What are the 12 steps of depressed anonymous? ›

The 12 steps for depression and other emotional struggles include:
  • Admitting powerlessness over emotions.
  • Acknowledging a higher power.
  • Turning one's life over to that higher power.
  • Taking a moral inventory.
  • Admitting personal wrongs.
  • Acknowledging the ability of the higher power to remedy character defects.
Nov 15, 2022

What is the 3 3 3 rule for depression? ›

Follow the 3-3-3 rule.

Look around you and name three things you see. Then, name three sounds you hear. Finally, move three parts of your body — your ankle, fingers, or arm.

How do you comfort someone who is struggling mentally? ›

What to say to someone with a mental illness
  1. "Do you want to talk about it? ...
  2. "What can I do to help?" ...
  3. "That sounds really difficult. ...
  4. 4. " ...
  5. "I'm really sorry you're going through this. ...
  6. "Are you looking for my perspective or would you rather I listen?" ...
  7. "I know what you mean. ...
  8. "Have you tried yoga or meditation?"
Nov 14, 2019

What to say to help someone who is struggling? ›

What to say:
  • I'm here with you.
  • There's not a right or wrong way to respond.
  • You don't have to have it all figured out.
  • I am here to help in whatever way is most helpful (and it's okay if you don't know what that is yet).
  • It's okay to be scared.
Mar 14, 2022

What are 3 ways to cope with mental health issues? ›

Control stress with activities such meditation or tai-chi; eat healthy and exercise; and get enough sleep. Reach out to family and friends. Maintaining relationships with others is important. In times of crisis or rough spells, reach out to them for support and help.

How do you overcome depression and overthinking? ›

These tips can help you move in the right direction.
  1. Step back and look at how you're responding. ...
  2. Find a distraction. ...
  3. Take a deep breath. ...
  4. Meditate. ...
  5. Look at the bigger picture. ...
  6. Do something nice for someone else. ...
  7. Recognize automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) ...
  8. Acknowledge your successes.

How to improve mental health? ›

Tips for improving your mental wellbeing
  1. Relax and reduce stress.
  2. Find ways to learn and be creative.
  3. Spend time in nature.
  4. Connect with others.
  5. Look after your physical health.
  6. Try to get enough sleep.

What are the 12 steps to positive mental health? ›

They include:
  • keeping physically active.
  • eating well.
  • drinking in moderation.
  • valuing yourself and others.
  • talking about your feelings.
  • keeping in touch with friends and loved ones.
  • caring for others.
  • getting involved and making a contribution.
Nov 10, 2008

What are 7 behaviors for improving mental health? ›

In my work as a psychiatrist and researcher, I have identified seven behaviors that contribute to quality mental health: activity, defense mechanisms, social connection, regulation, human specific cognition, self-acceptance and adaptability.

What are the 7 forms of depression? ›

7 Common Types of Depression
  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) ...
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) ...
  • Bipolar Disorder. ...
  • Postpartum Depression (PPD) ...
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) ...
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) ...
  • Atypical Depression.

How do you break depression patterns? ›

Lifestyle changes including getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and getting plugged back into life also make a difference, especially when paired with medication and therapy. Making these changes may be easier said than done if you are depressed, but it's possible, says John L.

What are the 9 forms of depression? ›

Types of Depression
  • Major Depression.
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder.
  • Bipolar Disorder.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
  • Psychotic Depression.
  • Peripartum (Postpartum) Depression.
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
  • 'Situational' Depression.
Jun 23, 2021

What are the big 5 ideas to assist with anxiety? ›

5 Ways To Help With Anxiety
  • Breathe from your belly. ...
  • Move your body. ...
  • Turn up the music. ...
  • Remind yourself: This is temporary. ...
  • Be self-compassionate.

What is the first step in treating depression? ›

The first step in treating clinical depression is recognizing that you are depressed. The second step is seeking help. These two steps may in fact be the hardest part of the entire treatment process.

What are 5 ways to deal with anxiety? ›

5 Ways to Cope With Anxiety
  • Start with a 'growth' mindset. Some people have a fixed mindset. ...
  • Notice how anxiety affects your body. When you're anxious, do you feel "butterflies" in your stomach? ...
  • Breathe. ...
  • Talk yourself through it. ...
  • Face the situation — don't wait for anxiety to go away.

How do you comfort someone emotionally? ›

Examples of emotional support
  1. give the other their undivided attention.
  2. allow them to say what they feel without judgement.
  3. ask questions to clarify or better understand their experiences.
  4. verbally summarize or reflect on what they have said.
Apr 27, 2022

What do you say to comfort someone? ›

Helpful things to say
  • "Can you tell me more about what's going on?"
  • "If you want to tell me more, I'm here to listen"
  • "I've noticed you haven't been yourself, is there anything on your mind?"
  • "I can see this is hard for you to open up about. It's ok to take your time. I'm not in any rush"

What is the best way to help someone who is sad? ›

How to help
  1. Start a conversation. Let your friend know you're there for them. ...
  2. Help them find support. ...
  3. Support them in continuing therapy. ...
  4. Take care of yourself. ...
  5. Learn about depression on your own. ...
  6. Offer to help with everyday tasks. ...
  7. Extend loose invitations. ...
  8. Be patient.
May 29, 2019

How do you motivate someone who feels down? ›

What else can I do to support them?
  1. Listen to them. Use active listening. ...
  2. Stay in touch. Call, text, or visit with them in person regularly if you can. ...
  3. Praise them. ...
  4. Use empathetic body language. ...
  5. Tell them what they mean to you. ...
  6. Support them in seeking help. ...
  7. Avoid toxic positivity.

How can I be a supportive friend? ›

A good friend walks the talk and shows that they care by their actions – big and small.
  1. A good friend:
  2. Listen to them. Try to understand a situation from your friend's point of view. ...
  3. Get the facts. ...
  4. Ask them what they need. ...
  5. Get physical. ...
  6. Keep in touch. ...
  7. Tell them how you feel. ...
  8. Be willing to make a tough call.

What are positive mental health phrases? ›

Inspiring mental health quotes
  • "You don't have to control your thoughts. ...
  • "There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." ― Leonard Cohen.
  • "Deep breathing is our nervous system's love language." — Dr. ...
  • "I think it's really important to take the stigma away from mental health…
Apr 29, 2022

How do I comfort someone over text? ›

16 Texts To Send When You Need to Cheer Someone Up
  1. You have always supported me through difficult times. ...
  2. I can understand the feeling of hardship taking over you during this time. ...
  3. I am so sorry for your situation. ...
  4. Work got to me, and I felt low last week.
Mar 15, 2022

What are the 6 anxiety reducing tips? ›

6 Tips for Dealing with Anxiety
  • If you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, know that you are not alone. Anxiety affects 40 million adults in the U.S., according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. ...
  • Eat a Nutritious Diet. ...
  • Get Moving. ...
  • Practice Positive Self-Talk. ...
  • Get More Sleep. ...
  • Distract Yourself.
Sep 26, 2017

What is the first step to treating depression? ›

The first step in treating clinical depression is recognizing that you are depressed. The second step is seeking help. These two steps may in fact be the hardest part of the entire treatment process.

What are the 10 causes of depression? ›

What causes depression?
  • childhood experiences.
  • life events.
  • other mental health problems.
  • physical health problems.
  • genetic inheritance.
  • medication, recreational drugs and alcohol.
  • sleep, diet and exercise.

What is the most common way to treat depression? ›

Medications and psychotherapy are effective for most people with depression. Your primary care doctor or psychiatrist can prescribe medications to relieve symptoms. However, many people with depression also benefit from seeing a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professional.

What is the last stage of depression? ›

Depression creates a sensation of isolation as if you are lost in the wilderness with no direction. The final stage is acceptance, which means you have finally made peace with the reality of your mental illness.

What are the 3 C's of anxiety? ›

It is based on the three "C's" of recovery calm your body, correct your thinking, and confront your fears.

How many ways can you treat depression? ›

Three of the more common methods used in depression treatment include cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and psychodynamic therapy. Often, a blended approach is used.

What can pull you out of depression? ›

Everyone experiences low points in their life and their mental health, but depression is a treatable mental illness and you can recover.
  • Eat a Healthy Diet. ...
  • Get More Exercise. ...
  • Soak Up Some Sun. ...
  • Get Quality Sleep. ...
  • Socialize with Friends and Family. ...
  • Plan Fun Activities. ...
  • Be Kind to Yourself.

Which is a healthy way to treat depression giving it time to go away? ›

Psychological counseling (psychotherapy) by a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professional can be very effective. For many people, psychotherapy combined with medication works best. It can help identify underlying concerns that may be adding to your depression.

What are 3 phases in treatment and recovery from major depression? ›

The treatment of depression has been divided into three phases: acute (leading to clinical response and remission of symptoms); continuation (prevention of symptom relapse); and maintenance (prevention of new episodes or recurrences).

What should I say to my son who is depressed? ›

Let him know he has your unconditional love and support

Acknowledge your son's feelings and focus on listening, not lecturing or judging. Let him know you will be there for him no matter how long it takes for him to feel better. Try saying: “You are never alone.


1. How to Help Someone with Depression
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3. 5 Things You Should Never Say To Someone With Depression
4. 10 Easy Self Care Tips for Depression
5. How to Help Someone with Depression - What Actually Helped Me!
(Scott Ste Marie)
6. How To Help Someone With Depression
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