Monday 16 November 2015

5 Things to Say to Someone with Depression

In our lifetime so many of us will experience a common mental health problem like depression. This means, you are pretty much guaranteed, at some point, to find yourself in a situation talking to somebody about their mental health.

In itself, this is massive. Even just 5 years ago we would not be able to say that. In general, people seem much more open to talking about how they’re feeling, but, that doesn’t take away from how difficult it can be for them.

So, your friend/partner/sibling/insert as appropriate has told you that they’re struggling with depression. Since you’re highly intelligent and generally awesome you know that this has taken a lot of courage annnnd, you’re nervous. What should I say? Will I make things worse? What if they think I’m not helping and don’t talk to anyone about this again? Ahh PRESSURE.

Here’s the golden nugget: if someone has told you they’re experiencing depression, you have already helped! People don’t expect you to have the answers, they just want to talk about it, that being said, here are five things you can say to show your support.

1.       “I’m so sorry, I have no idea what to say”

Be honest. If you don’t know what to say; say that. They’ll appreciate your honesty and pretending to know how to “fix it” isn’t going to help, just being you will.

2.       “Fancy going for a drink/dinner/a run/anything else you’d usually do together”

So many people avoid telling their loved ones about their depression for fear that they’ll be treated differently. Chances are, last time you went out for that drink they were also battling depression, you just didn’t know it yet – and you had fun didn’t you? Having depression doesn’t mean that everything in your life needs to be depressing so, meet up, catch up, and laugh. It could be exactly what they need.

3.       “Is there anything I can do, really?”

Sure, most people will have an automatic response to this question “no, it’s fine”. Persist. Do they need company walking the dog? Washing up? Someone to call them in the morning to make sure they’re up? Ask, you might be surprised at just how much you can do.

4    4.       “How are you sleeping?”

Problems with sleeping are extremely common symptoms of depression. This is also a practical question, find out the answer and you might be able to provide practical advice.

5.       “Have you spoken to your doctor?”

Many people self-diagnose depression and never seek medical support. Seeing your GP can be a real turning point in recovery (and it doesn’t always lead to medication!). If your loved one is yet to see their GP, encourage them to do so and offer to go along with them. Talking about depression can be hard, ask them to write down a list of their symptoms to bring with them to the appointment, it can be much easier to show this list to the GP as opposed to having to say it all out loud. If they have seen their GP but found them to be unhelpful, encourage them to request to see somebody else, keep doing this until they have a beneficial experience.

5.5   “I love you and I’m here”  

Okay, so I cheated, that's actually 5 and a half things to say. What do you think? Do you suffer from depression? What's the most helpful thing somebody's said to you about it?

Take care all!


  1. Thank you for posting this topic. This is something I have alway wanted to write about because I feel there is such a lack of awareness, however I also feel underqualified to speak on such a serious topic.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. This is a fabulous post and will definitely help a lot of people. These situations are always difficult for both parties, so I'm really glad you've posted this. Keep up the good work! Gweni xxxx

  3. amazing post which has already helped me by just reading it,thank you so much! I love the idea of actually writing everything down before seeing my GP,this is a great idea xx

  4. I love this post. I hope more people read it because you're right even though people are more open now there is still a stigma and a fear of 'not knowing what to say'. Which sadly sometimes leads to people not saying anything at all.


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