How to help someone with depression

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Depression is a lonely and isolating illness and can often mean those dealing with it will push their loved ones away, in fear of being a burden to them. It's an illness even to this day is misunderstood and has a large stigma around it. But depression should be treated the way every other illness is, and the person should be too, with love, respect, and care.

Whether you have a loved one, a colleague, or a friend dealing with depression, here are my best tips on how to help someone with depression.

Depression quote

Reassure them they're not a burden

Depression is a horrible illness that often tells you that you're not good enough, you're the problem and a burden on everyone around you. And, that's why a lot of those living with depression find it hard to speak up as they don't want to seem like a problem to their loved ones and an issue they have to deal with.

If you know of someone with depression, try and give them the reassurance they need. A simple telling them that you're here, a safe space and that they're not a burden can be enough for someone to speak up about what's really going on in their head. The reassurance isn't a one-time thing though when it comes to helping someone with depression, you need to be prepared to offer them reassurance even if you've done it time and time again. Those dealing with it, sometimes can't take that information in when in a bad headspace.

Don't force them to do anything they don't want to do

This is a really important point. Living with depression isn't easy and sometimes on the lowest of days, having a shower is all you can manage.  Because of this, don't push that someone to do anything they're not comfortable or ready for as really, it'll push them away from you. You need to be aware of where their headspace is at and suggest things to do that they feel ready for. But, it's also worth noting not to beat yourself up if you say or do the wrong thing to help your friend as it's a learning process helping someone with depression.

Celebrate the small wins with them

Depression isn't someone being in bed all the time, it can come in waves of being really unwell and appearing completely normal and it's important to be aware of these ups and downs to help that person. One way to help them is to celebrate all the small wins, in however they're feeling to boost them up when they're down and keep them smiling even when they're on an up. Always remember, healing isn't linear.

Ask them how you can help

Every person with depression is different, it's not a one size fits all solution, the same with anxiety. This means, that everybody needs help in different ways in order to deal with their depression. The best way to figure out how to help is simply asking. Some people may ask for company, others may need someone to listen to their thoughts, some may need distractions, and some need to be on their own. Once you know, you can help them in the right way which works for them.

Learn their triggers 

Someone with depression has their triggers and the things that can put them in a really bad headspace, and this will vary from person to person. If your friend opens up to you, then they can tell you their triggers if they know what they are (it's up to the individual to figure out the things which trigger them.) When you know the triggers, you'll be aware and can spot when they happen or if your friend looks like they're going down the route of a depressive episode.

Be a listening ear

Most people with depression don't want you to fix them as they need to fix themselves, like with any mental illness. They know help is out there and it's up to them to seek the right therapy, counseling, life coaching, or medication. However, what you can do is be a listening ear. By this, I mean simply listening to everything they have to say and speak with reassurance in return. It's not necessary to offer your advice on how to help them unless you're qualified or have the personal experience yourself on what worked for you.

Educate yourself

Depression is a complex problem and not something you can learn about overnight as it's dependant on the person. But, having that research and education about it, can help you have more insight into your friend's illness, and give you the mindset on how to approach it a little bit better.

Help them figure out coping mechanisms

Once you've educated yourself and been a listening ear, you'll be more in a position to help figure out coping mechanisms with them. These could be things you do for them when they go into a depressive episode, a signal to tell you that they're going downhill again, or small and quick boosts that can help their mindset. It'll be different for everyone but working on it together may help them know they're not alone.

Understand that sometimes your help may not work

I want to repeat this point time and time again. You could do every right thing under the sun for someone dealing with depression and I'm sorry to say that it may not be enough or help them. When someone is going through a depression episode, they're usually not thinking in their normal thought pattern so all those reassuring words and pieces of advice may not work at the moment. But, just because it may not work, it doesn't mean you shouldn't try as the most important thing that person needs is your love and support.

Don't blame them

The worst thing you can ever do to someone with depression is to blame them for their illness. Those who have depression are already living with constant negative thoughts about themselves and for the most part hate that they live with a debilitating illness, that pointing out it's their fault is the most malicious thing you can do. It's nobody's fault for having depression, more people have it than you may think even those with privilege or people surrounded by love. You don't know what caused them to have it and you wouldn't blame someone for having a physical illness, and it's the same with a mental illness.

Depression isn't easy and watching someone live with it isn't easy either, however, with the right support, love, and care, you can help them in the best way possible.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips do you have?

Thank you for reading <3

70 comments

  1. Great post, people definitely need to educate themselves on depression, I think we've come a long way but there's still a massive stigma

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  2. Great post. It can be so hard and sometimes frustrating when trying to help someone with depression as it's hard to get them to open up or try new things to see if it can help. It's a tough situation really.

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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  3. Ruth| Ruthiee loves Glamour2 September 2021 at 01:22

    Depression is a big thing tbh. It's great to know how to assist people with depression. Just last week, a university student in his final year took his life due to depression. Maybe if those around him knew how to help, he wouldn't be dead today. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. It really is! I'm sorry to hear that, yes exactly, it's all about educating ourselves xx

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  4. Excellent, informative post. I totally agree with you on the importance of just being there for someone suffering with depression and being a good listener.

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  5. I think it’s so hard when you don’t know how to help someone, so this is such a great post! It’s so important to remember to look after yourself when you’re caring for someone else’s mental health, and I love this helpful post x

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  6. I genuinely think this post will be a big help to anyone who has someone they love suffering from depression. It will help them understand and assist their loved one! Really great post lovely, thank you so much for sharing xo

    Elle - ellegracedeveson.com

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  7. This is a great post. I've started suffering from depression this year - only in bouts so far but it's really kicked my arse on occasion - and I've never experienced in before so I feel like my boyfriend doesn't really know what to do which is okay but this post is really helpful x

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    1. Thank you, I'm really glad you found this post helpful xx

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  8. Thank you so much! While we don't personally suffer from depression, we know people who do.

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  9. Thank you for sharing this great information. Depression and anxiety are so common (especially during this time) and it helps when posts such as this normalize these concerns. Great post!

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  10. These are amazing tips, thanks for sharing .

    https://www.ninakobi.com

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  11. This is so useful and so needed, especially as depression has become quite a focus this past couple of years. I hit an extremely bad bout of situational depression (which I too wrote about and gave some tips to work through on my site). I would say I am still very much dealing with depression and one thing that did recur was feelings of being a burden. It's great you mentioned that you should reassure the person dealing with depression that they aren't being a burden. I think the more we are open about our experiences the better for everyone as it reduces the stigma around it as depression is likely to be experienced by more people than maybe realized. Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. Thank you so much, I'm glad it has helped in some way!!

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  12. This post is so important. As a person who suffers with depression it's important to have someone who does these things. Luckily my hubby does.

    This post will help many people who just simply don't know what to say or do. You can feel helpless when speaking to someone with mental health issues. I've been on both sides and it's difficult for all parties involved x

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  13. Great tips! A couple of my friends suffer from depression and these will come in so handy. I love the idea of celebrating small wins, that's a simple thing to do but could make such a difference! Thanks for sharing x

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    1. Thank you lovely, I hope this posts helps them xx

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  14. Such an incredible and helpful post Della, it's so important to not force anyone to do anything when they have depression, let them go about things and life at their own pace and in their own way x

    Lucy | www.lucymary.co.uk

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  15. This is a really thoughtful post and I am off to share it with my loved ones. It was really informative and as someone who has gone through depression, know that a lot of these point are really helpful to know. Thanks for sharing :) x

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    1. Thank you so much, I hope they find it helpful too! xx

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  16. This is a great post, Della! It can be really hard to help people with depression if you don't understand the illness properly, so education like this is SO important! xx

    mia // https://beautiful-inspiring-creative-life.com/

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  17. Great post, awaring people about such an important topic and how to deal with something related to mental illness is very important these days, especially with the corona happening and not stopping makes it harder.

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  18. Great tips! I think it's super important for persons suffering from depression to have some support. Some persons want to help but are not sure how so this can be really helpful. Great post! xx
    TheQuietGirl | www.quietgirlblog.com

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  19. This post is super helpful! Thank you for sharing!
    xoxo
    Lovely
    www.mynameislovely.com

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  20. This is such a helpful post! It can be so difficult and isolating, that knowing that someone is there to support you can make a world of change. I suffered with it during the last two years at time, and knowing to have someone that I can speak to when I feel like was very helpful x

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    1. Thank you!! It really is, I'm glad you were able to get the support you needed x

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  21. This is such a kind and compassionate post. Depression is something that makes people feel very isolated and often ashamed, so having someone be there for them in the non-judgmental and caring ways you described would be incredibly supportive. Thanks for these tips xx

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  22. Thank you Della for this great and inspiring post. So true, we need to be caring for people who are in depression. This pandemic panic attacks and anxiety became prevalent in our country, most likely around the globe as well. Everyone needs someone to lift them up, it is a brave thing to have an initiative to this move.

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  23. This is such a powerful post - it's so important. Having had depression on and off, it can be hard if people are reacting the wrong way. But having friends deal with it as well makes me realise how hard it can be to react the right way - knowing what's best to say or do etc. There's some really insightful suggestions here, thanks for sharing.

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  24. I think there are all good ways to help someone. Something so small can make a massive difference.
    Cora | https://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/

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  25. I resonate with this post so much! It is hard helping someone and knowing that all your help may not be enough sometimes. The important thing is to continue to be there and show support.

    I love your tip on learning triggers and being a listening ear, as well as celebrating the small wins together. It is consistency and consideracy that make a difference.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  26. These are really helpful tips. Whilst mental health is something that is spoken about a lot more, so many people don't know how to help someone in a state of depression.

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  27. This is a really educational post, most of the time you don’t know what to say or do when someone is depressed. This post comes in handy and helpful to offer listening ears, learn the triggers and what to do, thank you so much

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  28. These are such great tips for helping someone who has depression. Thanks so much for sharing. I don't have much experience in this area!

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  29. Great tips! Definitely give someone a hand even though they don't accept like you said because they feel like it's a burden. Thank you for sharing!

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  30. Thanks for writing about this very important topic. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression in 2014. At the time, I was so embarrassed and felt like a complete failure, and nothing anybody said made me feel better. I've learnt to handle it better now but you do have your good and bad days. It's great to have a friendly ear who offers no judgement, but also sometimes you may just want to be by yourself. Great post :)

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story with me and for your lovely comment xx

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  31. What a great post Della. As someone with depression I love seeing posts like this because it not only opens the conversation, it also shared real ways to help and make a difference.

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  32. What a wonderful and practical post. Thank you so much. I find it hard sometimes because I'm naturally very positive, but I know that I want and need to do better at supporting friends when they struggle.

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  33. Lovely post, Della! It can be so hard to help people when you don't understand what they're feeling so its important to take the time to do so. Thanks for sharing x

    Lynn | https://www.lynnmumbingmejia.com

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  34. This is such a great post ! I know when I was going through a depressive episode, knowing I wasn't a burden and having friends that were kind enough to wait for me to be ready to open up was amazing.
    Lovely advice.

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  35. Hello Della, this is such an incredible post and very honest. This is really going to help people including me as my best friend has depression and it can be hard to know what to do to help. Thanks for sharing! Alicia

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  36. Very Nice and Informative Article. Thank you very much for sharing.
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