Advice for family and friends

Friends and family

You might have noticed that your loved one seems tired all the time. They might seem stressed and withdrawn, and you might wonder why they’re avoiding doing things they used to enjoy. There might be headaches, nausea or sleeping problems. They might talk to you about not feeling themselves, or they might try to carry on and insist they’re fine. Spotting the signs of depression can be difficult, especially if someone has been feeling the same way for a long time. Depression can affect anyone, but most people will get better with the right treatment and support.

If you can, try to accept the condition without blame or guilt even if you feel frustrated, confused and helpless. Most people with depression will need professional help, and support from loved ones alongside this will make a difference. As depression often goes up and down your understanding and support might be helpful for years to come, and being there for someone through illness and recovery may even help you learn more about your own wellbeing and build a closer relationship.

What can I do to help?


  • Be there. Don’t be afraid to text, write, meet for coffee or call to let them know you care
  • Encourage and support your loved one to visit their GP for professional help
  • Try to accept your loved one just the way they are, without judgement
  • Be ready to listen,even if they’re not up to talking
  • Patience andunderstanding will go a long way, even if you don’t feel you’re actually doing anything

Read more ideas on supporting a loved one

Encouraging a loved one to seek professional help

Do say

"We’ll get through this together. It’s not your fault and it will get better"

Don’t say

"You have a good life, what could you possibly be depressed about?"

Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Being close to someone who’s unwell can be hard, so look after your wellbeing, chat with others in the same position and don’t go through it alone. All Depression Alliance services welcome those affected by depression through a loved one, and the charity Carers UK can also provide expert advice, information and support.