Sometimes it's hard to know what to say to a person with depression, and the fear of saying the wrong thing can discourage important communication. Here are some examples of things that your loved one might find helpful, and some that might be perceived as hurtful.

Say this...: Tell me what I can do for you. I'm listening.
Instead of this...: Here's what I think you should do...

Say this...: I know that a real illness is causing these thoughts and feelings.
Instead of this...: It's all in your head.

Say this...: You may not believe it now, but the way you're feeling can change.
Instead of this...: You'll be fine, so stop worrying.

Say this...: I may not be able to understand how you're feeling, but I want to help you.
Instead of this...: We all have problems like this.

Say this...: You're not alone. I'm here for you.
Instead of this...: You have so much to live for. I don't understand why you're so upset.

Publication Review By: Karen L. Swartz, M.D.

Published: 18 Aug 2013

Last Modified: 18 Aug 2013