Helping a friend with depression
Know someone going through depression but not sure what to do? Find out why support from friends and family is really important, and check out the tips for helping someone through depression. Don’t forget to look after yourself too.
This can help with…
- reducing your stress levels
- knowing how to talk to someone about depression
- knowing when to get professional help
Why it helps
While everyone’s experience is different, going through depression can be a pretty intense experience – so having support from friends and family can be really important. If someone you know is going through depression, check out these tips on how to help them through the tough times.
How to help someone with depression.
- Be there to listen. Make conversations about what they’re going through easy and open. Ask them what you can do – find out what they find helpful during tough times. Make sure you acknowledge they are feeling down but try and remain positive and encouraging.
- Choose when to talk. If you want to bring up a sensitive issue with someone, try and choose a time when you are both relaxed. Avoid talking to them during an argument or if they are upset.
- Accept they have limits. If someone is suffering from symptoms of depression, it isn’t possible for them to just snap out of it, cheer up, or forget about it. Asking them to do this can come across like you’re not taking their feelings seriously and could easily upset them.
- Get informed. Finding out more info about depression might help you better understand what someone is going through. Check out ‘melancholic depression’ or ‘Clinical depression’ for more info.
- Encourage them to get help. If your friend is depressed, it’s really important that they seek help. Recommending they go and visit a local doctor/GP is a good first step. If they’re not comfortable with speaking to someone face-to-face, there are online and email counselling services.
- Back down if they aren’t ready. If you think a friend needs to visit an expert but they didn’t respond well to the suggestion, don’t force the issue or put too much pressure on them – it could put them off getting help. Remain supportive by offering help and suggestions when asked. The exception to this is if you think someone may be in danger or at risk. In this case it’s important that you seek help immediately. Call 000 to reach emergency services and tell someone you trust.
How to help yourself
- You might be really worried about someone living with depression but it’s really important you look after yourself too.
- Don’t give up the things you enjoy. Make sure you still have time to yourself to do your favourite things and work towards your own goals. If you’ve lost sight of your own goals, set some new ones.
- Set boundaries. You aren’t always going to be able to be there for every moment and you can’t let helping someone take over your life. Set some limits on what things you are willing and not willing to do – and stick to them!
- Learn to relax. Relaxation is great for helping you deal with stressful situations.
- Ask for support. Make sure you’re getting emotional support. Talk to people you trust about how you are feeling. It can be particularly frustrating when you feel like you aren’t able to help someone, so you might also want to go to therapy or join a support group.