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Office of Wellness Education

Support a Friend with Depression

  • Be patient. People with depression can often come across as angry or irritable. Stay calm and check in with them to get a sense of why they’re upset.

“I’m sorry you’re upset. What can I do to help?”

  • Be positive. Affirm strengths and stay away from sarcasm or criticism as much as possible (even if your sarcasm is meant to be funny!). If you need to confront the person about something, do so without putting them down. Criticism may reinforce feelings of incompetence and low self-esteem, which may deepen the depression.
  • People with depression have a tendency to refute compliments. Phrasing them like this can help-

“When I saw you go to gym this morning, it inspired me to go. Thanks!”
“I really appreciate how you always take the time to listen to me even if you’ve had a rough day.”

  •  Remember that depression is a real illness. When we can’t see that a person is physically sick, it can sometimes be difficult to sympathize, especially if your friend is irritable or is acting like they don’t care about anything. Educate yourself on depression.
  • Show that you care. Check in with your friend. Make sure he/ she knows that you notice and care if they aren’t there.

“You seem kind of down lately, everything ok? I’m here if you ever wanna talk.”

  • DON’T GIVE UP ON THEM. HOLD HOPE! Don’t give up on your friend or stop inviting them even if they consistently turn down your invitations. 
  • LISTEN
  • Laugh together. Laughter can be a welcome reprieve. Crack a joke, watch a funny movie, go to a comedian.
  • Understand your limits. You are not a therapist and need to take care of yourself as well.
  • Remind them depression is treatable and gently encourage them to seek help if they are not already.  Refer your friend to Hamel Health to set up an appointment.

If you are worried about your mood or that of a friend, take an anonymous screening .