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Depression: What to Say to Someone You Love

While depression is still a subject that many people try to avoid talking about, nearly seven percent of American adults have experienced at least one major depressive episode. Do we avoid talking about and addressing depression because of the stigma and misunderstanding still surrounding mental health, or is it because we are simply afraid we may say the wrong thing to someone who has depression?

If you know someone who is battling depression, developed a list of things that you can say to show that you care.

  1. “I am here for you.” “Don’t just say it, mean it,” says psychologist Dr. John Grohol, founder and chief executive of Do not only tell them that you are here, but show them. Check in regularly, offer help in finding a therapist, or even offer to drive them to their appointments.
  2. “Let’s do something.” Some people with depression can find themselves in a state of ruminative thinking, which is basically replaying negative events or agonizing over how particular situations could have played out differently. To help distract them from these damaging thoughts and worries, invite them to go for a walk or attend a yoga class. Invite them to do anything that will get them out of the house and moving around.
  3. “I don’t know exactly what you are feeling, but it must be hard.” Depression is complex and can have a variety of causes. Reaffirming that you may not fully understand the disease, but you do recognize that it is real and often difficult to control, can be beneficial for both you and your loved one. “Acknowledging that depression sucks can be the start of a good conversation,” says Grohol. This will allow the individual who is depressed to talk without fear of judgement.
  4. Sometimes, say nothing. Sometimes, they may just need someone to listen. Since isolation and loneliness can often overwhelm someone with depression, you presence alone can help.

Its import to understand that you alone can’t heal someone with depression, but you can help lessen their feelings of loneliness, isolation, and hopelessness. Continue to show your love and support and check in with them often.


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Jill Hamilton, Project Coordinator, The Kim Foundation

Jill Hamilton has been the Project Coordinator at The Kim Foundation since 2014. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations from The University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2009. Since working at the foundation, she has become an active member of the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition, Nebraska LOSS Advisory Committee, The Omaha Metro Hoarding Taskforce, The Early Childhood Mental Health Coalition, Nebraska State Conference Planning Committee, is Chair of the Nebraska LOSS Teams Conference Planning Committee, and serves as the Outreach Coordinator for the Metro Area LOSS Team