How To Help Your Depressed Loved One: The Do’s And Don’ts

Some people assume that those who experience a depressive state are overreacting or “drama queens” for feeling that way. In all honesty, people who are depressed don’t want to be depressed, but at times, their bodies and minds JUST CAN’T HELP IT. They have to do everything in their mind power to uplift themselves and overcome their depression. And you know what, it’s not easy at all.

“Depression is not a weakness of character, laziness, or a phase. Tough love, like telling someone to ‘buck up’ or ‘try harder,’ doesn’t work, and worsens the illness. Depression is a disorder that develops from environmental and biological issues that are unique to each person.” – Deborah Serani, PsyD.


Anyway, if you want tips on how to help your depressed loved one, then you came to the right blog. But first, you have to remember that your significant other, family member or friend may be reluctant to receive your help. He or she may be unresponsive at first as well. Anyway, as stated earlier, it is complicated to overcome depression. You just have to be patient with your loved one while helping him or her feel better.


Don’t judge depressed people. There is always a valid reason as to why they are suffering from this terrible mental health disorder. Instead of criticizing them, be a bigger person and help them with their issues. Uplift their spirits and provide them some positive vibes instead of negativity from you. In the end, it will not help the other person and yourself if you project “tough love.” Depressed people can’t cope in that way.


DO’s – Do Understand That Depression Is Not All About Sadness.


Depression is extreme sadness combined with over-fatigue, severe stress, impaired thinking, insomnia, lack of sleep or oversleeping, irritability, and more. These things mentioned are just some of the symptoms of depression. If you notice, words like “extreme,” “over,” “impaired” and “severe” were used to describe the symptoms of depression. It only means that the disorder is severe and life-altering.

Allison Abrams, LCSW-R, agrees, saying, “A pervasive disease of the brain, depression goes beyond sadness, affecting every aspect of a sufferer’s life. It can be a debilitating disease and, as a primary cause of suicide, a fatal one.”



What is the meaning of understanding that depression is not all about sadness? When a person is depressed, he or she will display a variety of signs, and while it may include sorrow or grief, it is not the only factor. They can also manifest anger and as already said, irritability. So yes, when a person is depressed, he can also have a foul temper. It means one thing – the need to understand the changes in their moods and emotions. We just have to be compassionate.


DO’s – Do Validate That They Are Going Through Something Difficult.


Being logical to a depressed person is a waste of your time. It is not helpful for them if you disregard how they are “being” at the moment. And so instead of telling them to “snap out of it,” validate their “condition” and assist them at their weakest. Mental illness like depression is real, and it happens even to the best of us. When it hits you, there is no easy way out, especially if the people around you are not considerate. So be a beacon of hope and positive energy, that is, if you care for the person. It will help them a great deal along the way.


DON’Ts – Don’t Ever Shame Them Of Their Condition.


People with depression or those currently experiencing a depressive mood will always see things as undesirable. If you shame them and add a negative input to their condition or their reaction, it can most likely lead to suicidal thoughts. They are very fragile people, and you just can’t trample on their “damaged” thinking.


Criticism from others can boost more depressive symptoms, and it usually doesn’t end well for both the “criticizer” and the “criticized” person. Depressed people become angrier, more frustrated, and at most times guilty of how they are feeling. They will go down the drain quickly, so to speak, and positive feelings are thrown out the window in a snap. There is no constructive outcome.


You cannot impose on them to act positively. It is crucial though to help them rise from the darkness that they are in – one way to do that is by redirection. Another way is by deflection.


(You can also briefly disconnect yourself from the depressed person if he or she is rubbing the negativity on to you. But then again, you have to try and help them at a later time.)






Depression is real, and it is happening to millions of people around the world. In the US alone, there are at least 16.2M people who experience a major depressive episode, according to a 2016 report. In the same year, it was revealed that 10.3M people who have had a major depressive episode ended up severely impaired. It means that these ten million American people need medication just to function normally.

Marwa Azab, Ph.D. says, “Many people who suffer from depression don’t seek treatment. And out of the ones who seek treatment, many are not helped by these treatments. Typically, treatment is medication, talk therapy or both.”

Don’t take depression lightly and never make a person with the condition for granted. The way you treat a depressed person will have a massive impact on their mental health.