Gentle ways to support someone with depression

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Everyone knows someone who has been through depression. Yet it’s not something we’re used to talking about over coffee break.


If you suspect that someone is depressed, what do you say? You’re not a doctor, and you certainly can’t diagnose. But you can offer some encouragement, say mental health experts:

•  Be understanding: “I know you’re suffering. I know you’re in pain.” “Have you thought about talking things over with your doctor?”

•  Be supportive: “It’s okay to take your medicine.”

•  Maintain as normal a relationship as possible: “How about lunch? My treat.”

•  Pay genuine compliments: “Great new haircut.”

•  Show respect: “Nice work on that report.”


Treatment works, but it won’t work if people are not encouraged to see their doctor in the first place. Seeking treatment is a sign of strength. It’s the first step toward feeling better. Yet all the medicine in the world won’t be enough without support from those around you.


Know what to say and when to say it. Be present to help someone put depression in their past.

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.


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