How to talk to someone with depression 

Two weeks ago, I wrote a blog post expressing my shock at the passing of someone I follow on Twitter. A suicide survivor with severe depression that, tragically fulfilled her current wish to end her own life. As that news settled, I got news from a friend suffering the deep loss of his best friend in the same devastating way.


Depression is sometimes a silent killer; it Is not always obvious when your friend suffers with depression, and you are not responsible for their care. However, many people wonder how to talk to someone with depression and how to help with depression when they do get awareness that a friend or family member feels depressed.

What to say to someone with depression?

The University of Bath recently published research in the British Journal of Clinical Psychology indicating a rise in the level of diagnosed depression from around 4% of the population prior to March 2020 to 32% currently. It is likely that at least one person close to you has a diagnosis of depression.

Depression is not a feeling of sadness. Though they might feel sad, the feelings of depression surpass sadness. Some people say they feel numb and hopeless. Survival feels exhausting alongside depression and at times getting out of bed, having a shower, getting dressed and cleaning teeth feels like a huge challenge. When it is possible it might be the only thing possible that day.

When someone you love is in pain, it is natural to feel the urge to fix it. Much of that compulsion comes from not wanting them to feel pain but there is some part of you that wants to fix your own discomfort. It is hard to watch someone struggle and not try to remedy it.

Most people with depression need someone to listen rather than speak. It is unlikely you will hold the answer to their problems so try to refrain from giving advice and instead hear what they have to say, without judgement. It is always ok to say that you do not understand and to share how much you care.

Positivity is important, providing it isn’t toxic (toxic positivity is the use of phrases such as “just think positively” or “things could be worse”). Positive positivity sounds like; “I’m sure it feels challenging to be positive at times like this, you will recover, and life will get easier. I’m here for you while it’s not”.

Your friend may struggle with motivation to get out and about. Life becomes a vicious circle as they stop doing things that bring some glimmer of enjoyment. Time immersed in nature is beneficial for mental wellbeing, as is exercise. Ask your friend to join you for a walk in the countryside. If you have the capacity bring some healthy food to share so they get the nutrients their body needs. For some people with depression, cooking and eating is too much.

How can you help someone with depression?

Harry Potter fans know all about dementors. Depression is a dementor, sucking the energy out of the people it attaches itself to. When someone expends all their energy getting out of bed, home admin is left behind.

Practical help in the home will help your friend greatly. Offer to do some washing of clothes or dishes. Help them to tidy or declutter so future tidying is easier. Your friend might have the financial capacity for help in the home but not the energy to organise it. If you sense this is the case offer to help with the sourcing. Always remain mindful of judging, if your friend is happy with the cleanliness of their home, they are more likely to take it as a judgement if you offer to help them find a cleaner!

Yoga is an amazing form of exercise that works the body and aids mental wellness. Find a local class and ask your friend to join you. Remember that a symptom of depression is a lack of motivation and interest in anything. Your friend is unlikely to jump at the suggestion.

Depression makes people act in ways that appear selfish. Internally your friend literally has no energy and feels like they bring everyone around them down. They are likely to feel that life is better for other people when they are not around. Tell your friend how much fun you have with them and why you enjoy their company. Explain why you want them to join you – sometimes this exercise means digging deep and reminding yourself why you love this person so much, which becomes a positive exercise for you both.

Always remember to take care of yourself too. Hypnotherapy helps people with depression, and it helps those around them too. It is beneficial for you to give yourself the opportunity to off load in the safe space of a therapy room. When you use hypnosis to refresh and revitalise yourself you will get a sense of renewed energy that will give you the burst you need to keep your mindset positive, so you feel well yourself.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Farnham GU9 & GU10
Written by Juliet Hollingsworth, MSc
Farnham GU9 & GU10

Juliet is a trauma-informed therapist. Her passion is helping people reach their potential through a combination of hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and transpersonal psychology. Juliet works online and face to face with clients across the world. (DHP Clinical Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy. MSc Consciousness, Spirituality & Transpersonal psychology.)

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