24 things to say to someone with depression

things to say to someone with depression

Unfortunately, there are no magic words to help a person struggling with depression feel better. It does, however, help to acknowledge your understanding that depression is an illness—not a phase or some sort of attention-seeking behaviour.[1] 

It is common for supporters to feel unsure about how to talk to people with depression or anxiety or to worry about saying the wrong thing.[2] Statements that make a sufferer feel listened to, understand and hopeful that things can improve are vital to adequate support. It is important to observe that any statement of support offered must be intentional, expressed as truth and with meaning, and be accompanied by an intention to follow through on any promise or commitment made to the sufferer. An unkept promise can lead to the person supported feeling even more isolated, abandoned and alone than their symptoms are already making them feel.

In my last video, I outlined things to avoid saying to someone with depression. In this third video of the series, I offer a summary of 24 sample phrases to say as a means of providing them with hope and support.

More comprehensive tables detailing things to say (and to avoid saying) and the reasons why, warning signs to look out for, prevention tips and the importance of self-care are detailed in my book, Surviving the Darkness: Lessons learned from a battle with depression and anxiety.


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[1] Hurley, K. (2018). Helping someone with depression: What people want to hear (and what they don’t). Retrieved on 6 May 2020 from https://www.psycom.net/5-phrases-to-help-someone-with-depression.

[2] Beyond Blue Ltd. What not to say to someone with depression. Retrieved on 6 May 2020 from https://www.beyondblue.org.au/personal-best/pillar/supporting-others/what-not-to-say-to-someone-with-depression.

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