How to help somebody with depression

Support someone with depression

It is hard, isn’t it?

It pains you to see your loved one feeling depressed, not knowing how to make them feel better.

It could also feel taxing on your mental health taking care of the person. Depression is a challenging experience for both the depressed person and the friend or family member trying to help them.

But, I get it. You want to try your best to help your loved one.

I want you to know that you are doing one of the kindest and noblest acts for someone.

So, how to help somebody with depression? 

Hopefully this article gives you some new ideas and perspectives so that both of you can feel better.

To understand a bit about depression, read my blog post about 7 tips to cope with depression.

Table of Contents

Listen without judgement

The best way to support someone with depression is to be supportive, listen without judgement

Sometimes, you may even wonder why your loved one can feel sad in a good or neutral situation.

Sometimes, it can get on your nerves because it ruins your mood if happening too often.

I hear you. Been there, done that.

For people who have never experienced depression, first of all, you are blessed. However, it is also hard to understand how the mind of a depressed person works and be empathetic.

And that is exactly what creates this barrier between you and your loved one.

“You won’t understand” – they think. And so, they do not dare to open up with the fear of judgement.

What you need to do is to create a safe environment for your loved one to express their feelings, and be a supportive listener. 

Very often in the early stage of sharing, a depressed person just needs someone to understand how they are feeling. Avoid giving unsolicited advice or unhelpful comments.


  • Creating a safe environment by caring about them and wanting to listen and share the burden with them
  • Validating their feelings
  • Asking what they need from you, for example, “Do you want me to listen or do you need advice?”
  • Reassuring them that you are there for them whenever they need


  • Telling the person to “Snap out of it”, “There is nothing to be sad about”, or “Stop being so sad”
  • Giving unsolicited advice such as “You should have done this instead” or “Try that next time” when the person is not asking

Be patient and understanding

Be patient and understanding towards your depressed loved one

Although you wish that your friend or family member can feel better as fast as possible for their own well-being, recovery from depression takes time, and there may be setbacks along the way.

Be patient and understanding, and avoid pressuring them to “get better” quickly.


  • Reassuring them that you will be there for them
  • Allowing them to feel the emotions while being supportive 


  • Pressuring them to “get better” quickly

Encourage them to seek professional help

Even if you are doing a great job, your loved one may still feel depressed.

Remember that depression is a treatable condition and that there are effective treatments available.

There are professionals out there that are knowledgeable about the subject of depression, approaches, methods, and can even prescribe medicines if needed.

A mental health professional can give proper guidance on how to cope with depression and prescribe medicine

Once you have been considered a safe place for your loved one, in other words, gaining their trust, encourage them to seek professional help.

Encourage them to talk to their doctor or a mental health professional, and offer to help them find resources if needed.

Your loved one may need a little push due to stigma surrounding mental health.

If they do not want to go to a therapist physically, try with an online resource first.

If you or your loved one are working and have benefit packages, check if they include mental health coverage or connect wihth free mental health services.

If not, I recommend BetterHelp as a starting point because it is easy and convenient – you can talk to a therapist virtually from your own home.


  • Encouraging them to seek professional help
  • Finding resources for them
  • Giving them a little push for them to start talking with a therapist


  • Only encouraging them to seek professional help without real actions to push it forward

Follow up

Family and friends can be great companion after a breakup

If your friend or family member lives by themself, they may choose to isolate themself when having depression.

It’s because of the lack of motivation and numbness.

That’s why it is important to follow up with them every so often to show them they have companion.

If you are able, plan hangouts with them and other friends. Good experience with good friends that they can trust is helpful.


  • Following up often
  • Planning hangouts for them


  • Only reassuring that you will be there without following up

Practice self-care

Meditation is a mindfulness coping mechanism

Supporting someone with depression can be challenging and emotionally draining.

Although you are not feeling numb yourself, just listening to negative feelings takes a lot to process.

That’s why therapists need therapy, too.

So, make sure you are taking care of yourself as well, and seek support from others if needed.

That is like putting your own oxygen mask on first before you can help other people on an airplane with a change in the cabin pressure. 

Key takeaways

Taking care of someone with depression is challenging. To be able to help a depressed loved one, you need to be in a good state.

Balance between taking care of yourself and taking care of them. Seek support from others when you need.

When it comes to helping the person with depression, approach it with love and empathy.

You may not understand why your loved one thinks or feels a certain way, and you don’t need to. Accept the fact that they are not feeling well without judgement, and be supportive.

I wish you the best success in your journey of helping your loved one heal!

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