When a friend or family member is suffering from depression, it can be difficult to know how to help them, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Let them know that you want to help, and then be present for them. Ask them how they are doing, and be a good listener for them when they answer. “For a depressed individual to learn that someone is there for them is huge,” says psychologist Dr. John Grohol, founder and chief executive of PsychCentral.com.
Many people suffering from depression can also get stuck worrying about how a past event went. You can help distract them by taking them out to do something that is both mentally and physically engaging, like taking a walk or going to an exercise class.
Equally important are the things you should not do or say to someone who is struggling with depression. Make sure you are not framing your statements in a way which places blame on them for being depressed. Depression is a medical condition, and it is not their fault. Do not tell them they need to try harder or ask them why they don’t want to get better.
To learn more, check out the article “What to say (and not say) to someone who is depressed”, published by NBC News’ Today which has some great suggestions for reaching out and supporting your loved ones.