How to Reach Someone Who Is Depressed

Nobody knows exactly the right thing to say every time, and starting that conversation becomes especially challenging when you are trying to reach someone who is struggling with clinical depression. While you might feel awkward or uncertain about bringing up the topic, it can make a world of difference between whether someone seeks help for their mental disorder, or becomes even more hopeless and withdrawn. Here are some tips you can use to reach someone who is depressed.

1. Be Compassionate

Despite the prevalence of depression, many people still don’t understand what depression is. Saying something glib like, “Oh, I’ve been sad before too; you’ll get over it soon,” is not helpful and could cause the person to feel more shame. Instead, communicate your compassion with phrases such as, “I’m here for you” and “We’ll get through this together.”

2. Offer Your Help

Depression extacts a tremendous toll on people, both mentally and physically. Simple daily tasks such as getting out of bed, showering and leaving the house can feel overwhelming. Depression may be so burdensome and exhausting that your loved one might not even know where to begin with their self-care. Be prepared to offer specific suggestions of help, such as coming over to spend time with them or doing their weekly grocery shopping for them.

3. Show You Care

People living with depression can feel as if nobody understands what they’re going through, which can be highly isolating. When you reach out to offer your support, make sure to reassure your depressed friend or loved one you will be there at every step of their quest for wellness, no matter what that looks like. Instead of saying something unhelpful like, “Nobody ever said life was easy,” say, “I care for you, and I’m here for you no matter what.”

4. Be a Good Listener

Sometimes, the most valuable service you can provide for someone living with depression is to ask them to tell you about what’s bothering them, and listen without interrupting. Your listening ear can be a valuable outlet for their painful emotions and a supplement to their therapy sessions.

5. Tell Them They Matter

It’s common for people struggling with depression to feel worthless and hopeless, as if their lives don’t matter and nobody would care if they were gone. They have difficulty muting their inner critic – the little voice inside that says they’ll never amount to anything, or that they deserve to feel this way about themselves. Can you sincerely communicate to your loved one all the ways they matter to you and others? If so, that may be what it takes to help them understand they’re valuable.

6. Don’t Judge

Your friend or family member’s issues may seem minor to you, but try to listen without judgment and resist the urge to butt in with simplistic “solutions.” Because of the biology of depression, there’s no quick fix for this illness. The best thing you can do is let your loved one know it’s OK to feel like this, and that you will stay by their side while they undergo the treatment they need.

Plan a Mental Health Intervention

If your loved one is struggling with depression, a professionally planned mental health intervention can help them get their quality of life back through convincing them to seek treatment. Don’t wait for your family member or friend’s symptoms to get worse. Call Whitman Recovery Service today at 512-722-7566. You’ll be glad you did.