What to Say to Someone Who Is Depressed

When depression hits, people tend to withdraw from others and isolate themselves. It can be difficult to know what to say or do in such situations. It is important to remember that no one is responsible for another person’s feelings; however, your kind words and actions can make a significant difference.Here are some thoughtful and compassionate suggestions on what to say to someone who is losing hope and feeling depressed.

Words of Hope and Support

When someone is depressed, it’s easy to feel like nothing you say will make a difference. But hearing something as simple as, “I’m here for you,” or “You are not alone,” can be extremely healing. When a person is suffering from depression, they may feel like they are a burden to others, paralyzed by feelings of isolation and shame. These words convey that you acknowledge the person’s pain and suffering, but that you don’t view them as broken. And that is a great gift. These words can also provide hope and motivation when nothing else seems to be working. 

You Are Not Alone

Sometimes people who are depressed feel like they are alone in the world. They may feel like no one understands what they are going through. If your loved one is feeling this way, you can help them by letting them know that you are there for them and that you understand what they are experiencing. Let them know you are there for them and let them know you will not abandon them. Let them know you are there to listen and that you will try to understand what they are experiencing. Let them know they can count on you and that you will not leave them when they need you most.

Ask How You Can Help

If you truly don’t know what to say, ask your loved one how you can help them. You may be surprised at what they say. Some people prefer to be left alone during a depressive episode, while others want to be surrounded by friends and family who are willing to listen and offer support. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to helping people who are depressed. Whatever they need from you, let them know they have it.

Reassure Them Things Will Get Better

People who are depressed often feel as though their situation is hopeless and that things will never get better. This is one of the most painful aspects of depression. Let your loved one know that although the road ahead may be difficult and challenging, they can get through it. Let them know you believe in them and that you will be there to support them every step of the way. Let them know that you see their strength and resilience, and that you know they will get through this.

Encourage Self-Care

Often when someone is depressed, they do not give themselves the same level of care and attention that they usually do. Help them to create a self-care plan that is tailored to their current level of ability and capacity. Let them know that self-care is not self-indulgent or even selfish, but rather something they need to do for themselves in order to heal.

Sometimes it’s easier to say, “I know you’re going through a really difficult time,” than to come up with a specific response to someone’s specific problem. Let your loved one know that you understand what they are going through. Let them know you have been there before and that you know what they are experiencing. Let them know you are sorry they are going through this pain, and that you are there for them. Let them know you understand how difficult this is for them and that you do not take this lightly.

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