Not totally sure what depression is or what it means for your friend? A really great first step in helping your friend is to find out more about depression – which will help you better understand what they’re going through. Once you can understand depression’s symptoms, course and consequences, you can better support your loved one
Be there to listen
The best thing you can do for someone with depression is to be there. If your friend feels like talking, ask them how they’re going. Try asking questions like, “What can I do to help?” and “What do you find helpful?” When you want to bring up a sensitive issue with a friend, try to choose a time and place when you’re both comfortable and relaxed. It’s a good idea to avoid talking to them about it if they’re upset.
Don’t judge or criticize.
What you say can have a powerful impact on your loved one.
Take their feelings seriously
If someone is suffering from symptoms of depression, it isn’t possible for them just to ‘snap out of it’, ‘cheer up’ or ‘forget about it’. When you listen to them and validate their feelings by saying things like ‘That must be really hard’ or ‘I’m here when you want to talk’, they’ll know you’re taking their feelings seriously.
Avoid offering advice.
It probably seems natural to share advice with your loved one. Whenever someone we care about is having a tough time, we yearn to fix their heartache. While it may be true that the depressed person needs guidance, saying that will make them feel insulted or even more inadequate and detach further.
Patience is a pivotal part of supporting your loved one. “When you’re patient with your loved one, you’re letting them know that it doesn’t matter how long this is going to take, or how involved the treatments are going to be, or the difficulties that accompany the passage from symptom onset to recovery, because you will be there.