If you aren’t struggling with depression, sometimes it is difficult to know what to say(or not to say) to someone going through depression. What you want to say may sound great in your head and have the best intentions, but it doesn’t always come across how you hoped when you say it to the person struggling. I decided to research some advice for how to talk to someone with depression. Everyone is different, so while some people may find certain things helpful, others may feel the opposite. I recommend making sure you use your best judgment and have the best intentions when trying to comfort someone with depression.
Let’s start with what NOT to say to someone with depression.
- Cheer Up – Cheering up is the ultimate goal when someone is depressed, but have someone tell you to cheer up is not helpful. Telling someone to cheer up makes it seem easy and simplifies the feelings that come with depression.
- It’s Not That Bad or It Could Be Worse – Pain is very subjective and relative. What is small for you could be huge for someone else. Don’t minimize someone else’s feelings.
- It’s All In Your Head – Having someone tell you that it’s all in your head can feel like an attack. It feels like someone is telling you that you are making things up. People don’t choose to have depression.
Now that you know what you shouldn’t say to someone with depression, here are some things that may be helpful for someone with depression to hear.
- I’m Here When You Are Ready To Talk – Not everyone with depression is ready to talk, but it is always nice to know someone is there when you are ready.
- How Can I Help – Everyone is different, so it is nice to ask what will help your friend with depression. What is helpful for one person may not be helpful for another.
- You Are Not Alone – The reminder that someone is there for you and that others are going through a similar experience is a good reminder. If you are going through depression as well you can share your experience with them, but keep the focus on them.
The sources below have some other helpful tips for what to say and not to say to someone with depression.