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How to Help Someone Who Is Depressed

Supporting a loved one who is dealing with depression can be challenging, but your care and understanding can have a positive impact on their journey towards healing. Here’s how you can offer meaningful support.


Understanding Depression

Depression is an intense and often prolonged feeling of sadness. It affects people differently, often leading to feelings of helplessness, worthlessness, guilt, anger, or sadness. Recognising the signs of depression in someone you care about is a good start towards providing them with support.


Signs of Depression

Look out for the following signs that may indicate someone is experiencing depression:

  • Expressing feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, or worthlessness
  • Increased irritability or anger
  • Withdrawal from social events or activities that they once enjoyed
  • Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
  • Lack of energy or constant fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Neglecting personal hygiene or household chores.


Ways to Help Someone Who Is Depressed


Starting a Conversation

Initiating a conversation with your loved one about their mental health can be daunting, but it’s essential for offering support. Here are some tips for starting the conversation:

  • Find a comfortable and quiet setting.
  • Express your concern and willingness to help without judgment.
  • Listen actively and allow them to share their feelings.
  • Share your own experiences if it feels appropriate.
  • Avoid offering unsolicited advice or trying to minimise their struggles.
  • Ask what they need and how you can help.
  • After that first conversation, check back in to see how they are going.


Depression – Practical Ways to Help

Supporting someone with depression goes beyond just talking. Consider these practical ways to assist them:

  • Offer to help with household chores (cooking, cleaning, gardening), daily errands (grocery shopping), or childcare responsibilities.
  • Spend quality time together engaging in activities they enjoy.
  • Encourage them to seek professional help and offer assistance in finding a mental health support service or scheduling appointments.
  • Accompany them to appointments if they’re comfortable and provide emotional support.


Taking Care of Yourself

Supporting someone with depression can be challenging, so it’s important to prioritise your own wellbeing:

  • Recognise your limitations and set boundaries to prevent burnout.
  • Seek support from friends, family, or peer groups if you feel overwhelmed.
  • Practise self-care activities that help you recharge and maintain balance in your life.
  • Visit the Carers Victoria website for resources and support groups.

Remember that your wellbeing is essential for effectively supporting your loved one.


By offering empathy, understanding, and practical assistance, you can provide invaluable support to someone experiencing depression. Remember to prioritise your own mental health and seek help when needed, ensuring you can continue to be a source of strength for your loved one.


If you are struggling and need to reach out to a mental health professional, our CAREinMIND counsellors are here to help 24/7. Call 1300 096 269 or click the floating chat button on the right. The service is free for people in north, western and central Melbourne.


The CAREinMIND blog is delivered by Lifeline. The views in each post do not necessarily reflect those of North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network.