If someone in your life is struggling with depression and you want to help, consider the words you say and things you do. Choose these wisely.

Understanding how to help someone with depression takes time.

When I get depressed, there are words that help and words that do not. Phrases and words of encouragement like, “Get over it” or “Someone else has it worse than you” are some of the worst things to say to someone who suffers from depression.

But that’s not our focus. Instead of dwelling on the things that don’t work, simple words and phrases will show you what does work.

There are several notable words or phrases which can help someone with depression. There are also quite a few actions you can take to help guide someone out of the depths of darkness as well. These words and actions do not have to be complicated. In fact, a simple word or phrase can mean the world to someone who is suffering. I know these things help me.

“I love you”

The first thing you’re going to want to do is to make sure those who suffer from depression know that they are truly loved. Saying “I love you”, if you mean it, shows them that they matter, they are not alone and gives them hope, all in the same instant.

Think about it, this is just a three-word phrase! What could be more simple than that? After you verbalize your love, then follow up by taking love actions, like hugs.


Now, not everyone likes to be hugged, so make sure you understand individual boundaries. On the other hand, a hug can help the depressed release pent-up emotions. I know I’ve been a sucker for a warm hug every now and it’s a great way to help your loved ones with depression.

Hugs also show people that you are not afraid to get close and share comfort. This thought alone helps those who suffer from depression truly understand that they are not alone in their journey. If someone welcomes a hug, by all means, provide this simple yet powerful human interaction.

Contradict negative words and thoughts

Most depressed individuals will say things like, “I’m unlovable!”, “I’m ugly!”, and “I’m horrible!”, but when they do, contradict these words with positive statements. Just like saying “I love you!”, you can also proclaim their beauty and you can help them understand that they are not horrible at all!

Depression lies to us, telling us all sorts of terrible things through automatic negative thoughts. This is part of the disease. By replacing negative with positive, this helps build resolve to fight this terrible illness.


Have you ever heard the statement, “Laughter is the best medicine”? Well, it really is. Telling jokes does two different things for those who suffer from depression. First of all, laughter distracts them from the obvious by making them think of funny or cheerful aspects of life.

Also, laughter elevates the mood by altering chemicals in the body. Telling jokes may be one extremely effective way to connect with the mentally ill.

Encourage self-care

Those who suffer from depression sometimes find it difficult to care for themselves. Depression often makes simple aspects such as hygiene or physical activities seem like the hardest things to accomplish. Those who suffer just need a push to pursue their well-being.

You can help them by suggesting things like taking a nice hot bath or going for a stroll in the neighborhood. Both these activities are positive ways to improve well-being. Then you can move on to larger responsibilities.

“I’m here for you”

This one is monumental! Ensuring someone with depression that you are going to be there for them really lightens their load. One of the biggest fears of people who suffer from mental illness is being abandoned. They are constantly afraid that the people they love will get tired of their condition and leave them.

Make sure you always find a way to express these words, “I’m here for you”. You can show it by visiting consistently or either by checking in by phone calls on a daily basis.

Also, try not to get frustrated if they ask you if you will abandon them. It’s just a terrible fear that refuses to go away.

“I believe you”

So many times friends and loved ones refuse to acknowledge that depression is real. When a condition such as this is downplayed, it can make depression harder to deal with. It’s always important to let the depressed know that you believe in their illness and that they are not just “crazy”.

Trust me, living with depression is horrible in itself, and living with those who don’t believe you is even worse.

Prepare healthy meals

If you really want to see to help someone struggling with depression, then try to prepare a healthy meal for them. Oftentimes, it’s hard to prepare food, due to decreased motivation and energy.

Depression zaps energy right away and even makes sufferers want to sleep for extended periods of time. To them, it’s much easier to order pizza or not eat than to spend hours in the kitchen cooking a meal.

Maybe you can prepare enough to share with someone who suffers and this will help them utilize nutrition to fight the disease.

Simple ways to help someone with depression

I hate depression. I suffer from the illness myself and find it quite a chore to prepare a meal, even once or twice a week.

This means I eat lots of unhealthy food during the week. I am fighting and trying to find quick meals and more efficient ways to fulfill nutrition for myself. I often sleep long hours as well and constantly fight with the idea that I’m not good enough. Trust me, depression is a monster, and every simple thing you can do to help is marvelous.

If you have a loved one or family member who suffers, it’s okay to help them, while encouraging them to partake in activities as they can. Always show love and comfort during this time of need because it provides strength to carry on. Over time, they will be able to endure and help others as well.


  1. https://www.huffingtonpost.com
  2. https://psychcentral.com

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Don

    Very good, I like this. You mentioned in the first paragraph things not to say, I’d like to add something. If living with or trying to help a depressed person, they need to know advice or things said may not be for them, even from the professionals. I have heard counselors say to groups “If you do not love yourself you cannot love others”. Things like this are not only untrue, they can be destructive. Another is telling the depressed if they have anger they must release it. People who bottle it up don’t know how to release it, and if they leave and try, it can have unintended consequences for themself and those around them. Having been through it, I tell a depressed person if advice or things said do not feel right, they probably aren’t – at least for them.

    1. Sherrie


      Thank you so much for this advice. This reminds me of raising my three boys. I had my first son and did not plan to have any other children, and so I went 7 years before I had my second son. During those 7 years, I raised my first son in a particular fashion. When the second son arrived, I noticed that my parenting techniques did not seem to work as easily. A wonderfully sweet lady at one of my child’s doctor’s appointments told me that I could not use the same techniques on both children because their personalities were different. I had an epiphany with this advice and so I practiced new techniques on my second child until they worked. When my third son came along, I was ready to experiment again, in which I learned that it took a bit of this and that, taken from the first two experiences in order for parenting to be a success.

      What I am saying is this, we are all individuals and what works for one, does not work for others.

      Thank you!

  2. Jerry

    Struggling with depression myself, reading this text gave me is a major “BINGO” moment.You’re so right!

    1. Sherrie


      Thank you for reading. I am always so happy when someone can take something from my writing and it helps in some way.

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