7 Best and Worst Things to Say to Someone With Depression

photogallery_depression_quiz_what_to_say_what_not_to_say_02_fullLife is full of ups and downs, and it’s only natural to go through rough periods when you need some cheering up. But depression is more than feeling a little blue, and people struggling with depression need the right kind of loving support. That’s why it helps to know what to say — and what not to say — to a loved one who has depression.

In fact, a study published in Social Psychology Quarterly found that the attitudes of family members have the biggest impact on depressed people, either helping or hampering their recovery. “Depression is a medical illness,” said Eva Ritvo, MD, vice chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine. “Harsh or judgmental comments will only make things worse.”

Do you know the best and worst things to say to someone who’s depressed?

Snap Out of It!

The scenario:  Your loved one hasn’t left the house in what seems like days. Should you tell them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and just snap out of it?

Say It or Don’t Say It?

Don’t say it.

You may be tempted to tell someone who’s depressed to stop moping around and just shake it off. But depression is not something people can turn on and off, and they’re not able to respond to such pleas. Instead, tell your loved one that you’re available to help in any way you can.

What Do You Have to Be Depressed About?

The scenario: In a world full of wars, hunger, poverty, abuse, and other ills, you may feel impatient when someone you love feels depressed. So do you remind them how lucky they are?

Why Don’t You Go for a Nice Walk?

The scenario: Exercise is a known way to lift your mood. Is it a good idea to suggest that your loved one with depression go out and enjoy some fresh air and activity?

Say It or Don’t Say It?

Don’t say it.

You can’t argue someone out of feeling depressed, but you can help by acknowledging that you’re aware of their pain. Try saying something like, “I’m sorry that you’re feeling so bad.”

Say It or Don’t Say It?

Say it — but with a caveat.

By definition, depression keeps you from wanting to engage in everyday activities. But you can show your support by offering to take a walk, go to a movie, or do some other activity with your loved one. How about: “I know you don’t feel like going out, but let’s go together.”

It’s All in Your Head

The scenario: Some people believe that depression is an imaginary disease and that it’s possible to think yourself into feeling down and depressed. Should you tell your loved one that depression is just a state of mind — and if they really wanted to, they could lift their mood with positive thoughts?


Say It or Don’t Say It?

Don’t say it.

Suggesting that depression is imagined is neither constructive nor accurate. Although depression can’t be “seen” from the outside, it is a real medical condition and can’t be thought or wished away. Try saying instead: “I know that you have a real illness that’s causing you to feel this way.”

Seeing a Therapist Is Probably a Good Idea

The scenario: You think your loved one could benefit from talking with a mental health professional. Should you say so?

Say It or Don’t Say It?

Say it.

Reinforcing the benefits of treatment is important. Encourage the idea of getting professional help if that step hasn’t yet been taken. This is especially important if your loved one has withdrawn so much that they are not saying anything. Try telling them, “You will get better with the right help.” Suggest alternatives if you don’t see any improvement from the initial treatment in about six to eight weeks.

Have a Drink — Things Won’t Look So Bad

The scenario: Maybe your loved one who has depression just needs to relax and unwind. Should you take them out for happy hour and suggest having a drink or two?

Say It or Don’t Say It?

Don’t say it.

Suggesting that someone with depression have a drink is never a good ideabecause alcohol itself is a depressant.

It’s Great to See You Interested in Things Again

The scenario: You notice that your loved one is coming out of their fog and starting to enjoy some of their preferred creative or other pastimes again. Should you comment on it, or just play it cool?

Say It or Don’t Say It?

Say it.

Pointing out specific improvements you notice — like a boost in energy or renewed interest in activities — can encourage someone with depression along the road to recovery.

Article by Kristen Stewart

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2 thoughts on “7 Best and Worst Things to Say to Someone With Depression

    1. Thank you for visiting our blog and yes we would love to check out what you are doing. Stay blessed!

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