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Coping / Self Help | Friends & Family | Out of Hours Support

Friends & Family

Depression Alliance offers information, support and understanding for people who are concerned about, or caring for, someone with depression. You can help people experiencing depression, and in doing so you may even build a closer and more satisfying relationship with them. Remember though, that caring for someone with depression can be very frustrating and can also make you feel depressed. You may need support at times, too.

Eight ways you can help someone with depression

  • 1. Remember that they cannot help being affected by depression.
  • 2. Encourage them to talk and listen to what they are saying.
  • 3. Let them know that you care about them.
  • 4. Stay in contact with them. Send a card, give them a ring, visit them in their home. Remember that depression can be a very isolating experience.
  • 5. Help them to feel good about themselves by praising daily achievements.
  • 6. Encourage them to help themselves by adopting self-help techniques.
  • 7. Find out about support services available to them and to you (self-help groups, out of hours emergency support, helplines, etc). Put them in touch with Depression Alliance.
  • 8. Encourage them to visit their doctor, and ensure that they take any prescribed medication as directed.

If they are talking about or have attempted suicide

Suicidal thinking is common in depression. Don't be afraid to ask them if they are suicidal, and try to reassure them that feeling or thinking the future is hopeless does not make it so in reality. If they have suicidal intentions, of have attempted suicide, call in other people (a GP, emergency services, social services) to help them and you with the situation. You can also contact The Samaritans (08457 90 90 90).

Reassure them that their life is important to you and to many other people, and that they will feel better once they receive appropriate treatment. However hard it may seem to look after a person who is suicidal, the fact that you are showing you care will have a positive impact.

Talking to someone who is depressed


  • 1. You're not alone in this.
  • 2. You are important to me.
  • 3. Do you want a hug?
  • 4. You are not going mad.
  • 5. We are not on this earth to see through one another, but to see one another through.
  • 6. When all this is over, I'll still be here, and so will you.
  • 7. I can't really understand what you are feeling, but I can offer my compassion.
  • 8. I'm not going to leave you or abandon you.
  • 9. I love you (if you mean it).
  • 10. I'm sorry that you're in so much pain. I am not going to leave you. I am going to take care of myself, so you don't need to worry that your pain might hurt me.


  • 1. There's always someone worse off than you are.
  • 2. No one ever said that life was fair.
  • 3. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
  • 4. So, you're depressed. Aren't you always?
  • 5. Try not to be so depressed.
  • 6. It's your own fault.
  • 7. I think your depression is a way of punishing us.
  • 8. Haven't you grown tired of all this me, me, me stuff yet?
  • 9. Believe me, I know how you feel. I was depressed once for several days.
  • 10. Have you tried chamomile tea?

Further support can also be obtained from the following organisations:

Caring about Carers

Carers UK

The Princess Royal Trust for Carers


Depression Alliance produces a leaflet for carers. Visit our publications page to download a free copy.

Coping / Self Help | Friends & Family | Out of Hours Support

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