What to Say to Someone Who Is Depressed (2023)

Knowing what to say to someone who is depressed isn't always easy. Try not to be dissuaded by worry over saying the "wrong" thing. Too many people with clinical depression feel alone—a state that only worsens their condition. If you don't know what to say, just say that—and tell your friend that you are there for them.

This article discusses what you can do when you want to say more, but have a hard time expressing what you feel. It also covers statements that someone who is depressed might find helpful to hear.

Tell Them You Care

These two simple words—"I care"—can mean so much to a person who may be feeling like the entire world is against them. A hug or a gentle touch of the hand can even get this message across. The important thing is to reach out and let the person know that they matter to you.

While you may feel awkward and unsure at first, know that whatever you say doesn't have to be profound or poetic. It should simply be something that comes from a place of compassion and acceptance.

Remind Them You're There for Them

Depression can feel as though no one understands what you are feeling or even cares enough to try to understand, which can be isolating and overwhelming.

Research has shown that people tend to withdraw when they are depressed, so reaching out to a friend in need is an important first step. If your friend isn't ready to talk, continue to offer your support by spending time with them and try to check in regularly, either in person, on the phone, or by text.

When you reach out to a friend, letting them know that you are going to be there every step of the way can be very reassuring.

You may not quite know what this will look like at first, but know that just reminding your friend that you are someone they can lean on can mean the world.

Ask How You Can Help

Depression places a great weight on the person who is experiencing it, both physically and mentally, so there are probably many things you can do to ease the burden as your friend recovers.

Your friend may be reluctant to accept your offer for fear of becoming a burden on you, so make it clear that you don't mind and want to help in the same way you know they would for you in a similar situation.

It is also possible that depression may leave your friend so tired and down that they don't even know what kind of help to ask for. Be prepared with a few specific suggestions, which may include:

(Video) What NOT To Say To Someone Who Has Depression – And What To Say Instead

  • Could you use some help with housework or grocery shopping?
  • Would you like some company for a while?
  • Would you like me to drive you to your doctor appointments?

Being specific in regards to both the time and the activity can be helpful. For example, instead of saying "Is there anything I can do for you?" perhaps ask, "Could I come over on Saturday morning and do some yard work for you?"

Remember, too, that the help you think your friend may need may not match with what would actually be beneficial in their eyes. Suggest—and listen.


Depression can make daily tasks and other obligations much more difficult. Lending tangible, practical support can be a great way to help someone who is depressed.

Urge Them to Talk to a Professional

Depression treatments are a very important part of recovering from depression, but people often feel ashamed of their condition or pessimistic about whether treatment will really help.

If your friend has not yet seen a healthcare provider, encourage them to seek help and reassure them that there is nothing wrong with asking for assistance. Depression is a real—and treatable—illness.

If your friend is already seeing a healthcare provider, offer to help with picking up medications and being on time for appointments.

Ask Them If They Want to Talk

Sometimes the most important thing you can do for a depressed friend is to just listen sympathetically while they talk about what is bothering them, allowing them to relieve the pressure of pent-up feelings.

Make sure to listen without interrupting. We all wish to fix things for those we care about and often offer quick fixes to cope with our own feelings of helplessness. Sometimes people who are depressed just need to talk without having the conversation taken over with well-meaning advice.


Listening can help make their mental and emotional pain more bearable as they go through the course of treatment prescribed by their doctor and/or therapist.

(Video) Helping a friend struggling with depression: Tips from Dr. Randy Auerbach

Remind Them That They Matter

A common feeling among those who are depressed is that their lives don't matter and no one would even care if they were gone. If you can sincerely tell your friend about all the ways that they matter to you and others, this can help them realize that they have value and worth.

Letting them know that they are an important person in your life can mean a lot when someone is struggling with feelings of depression and worthlessness.

Tell Them You Understand (If You Really Do)

Before you tell someone "I understand," you should be certain that you actually do. Have you ever experienced clinically significant depression? If you have, it may be helpful for your friend to hear that you have experienced what they are feeling and that it can get better.

Keep in mind, however, that there are several different types of depression, and even if you did experience clinical depression, it may have been very different than what your friend is going through.

If what you have been through was a case of the blues, on the other hand, your friend may feel like you are trivializing their experience by comparing it to yours.

In this case, it would be best to simply admit that you don't understand exactly what they are going through, but that you care about them and want to try. Often, the best words to say are, "I don't understand, but I really want to."

Remind Them It's OK to Feel The Way They Feel

Even if your friend's problems may seem minor to you, resist the urge to judge or come up with simple solutions. The biochemical imbalances associated with depression are what is driving how bad your friend feels about certain situations—not necessarily the situations themselves.

Instead, let them know that you are sorry that they are feeling so badly and adopt an attitude of acceptance that this is how their depression is affecting them. If your friend only recently started taking medications or attending counseling, it can take time for them to begin to feel better.

Just as an antibiotic for strep throat takes a while to work, antidepressants can take some time to change chemicals in the brain (sometimes upwards of eight weeks or longer).

During this time, what your friend needs most is not references to fast, easy solutions, but an awareness that you will be by their side through their treatment.

(Video) 7 Things to Say to Someone With Depression

Assure Them They're Not Weak or Defective

Those who are coping with depression tend to feel weak or that there is something wrong with them. While depression is an illness, those who live with it may feel that it's a character flaw.

Reassure your friend that depression really is an illness caused by a biochemical imbalance in the brain, and it does not mean that they are weak. In fact, it takes a great deal of strength to fight back, so they are probably much stronger than they think they are.


Depression is a common mental health condition that can affect anyone. Let your loved one know that these feelings are not their fault and remind them how strong, resilient, and capable they are.

Emphasize That There's Hope

While you are reassuring your friend that they have a real illness, you can also reassure them that there is hope, because, like any other medical illness, depression is treatable. Through the use of medications and therapy, your friend has a very good chance of returning to feeling normal again.

Get Help Now

We've tried, tested, and written unbiased reviews of the best online therapy programs including Talkspace, Betterhelp, and Regain. Find out which option is the best for you.

When Good Intentions Go Wrong

It's possible that you can say all the "right" things and your friend will still become upset with you. Every person is an individual with unique thoughts and feelings, and being angry and upset is the nature of depression.

Sometimes people will lash out at those trying to help them because they are hurting and don't know where to direct those bad feelings. Whoever is nearby becomes a convenient target.

If this happens, try not to take it personally. Stay calm and continue to do what you can to love and support your friend in whatever way they will allow.

Know the Warning Signs of Suicide

The risk of suicide is high in those living with depression. No matter what you say or what you do to help your friend, they may still experience suicidal thoughts and feelings. Make sure to be on the lookout for warning signs of suicide and know when to seek help.

Some signs to watch for include:

(Video) What NOT to Say to a Depressed Loved One

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Expressing that they feel like a burden to others
  • Feelings of extreme hopelessness and sadness
  • Withdrawing from friends and loved ones
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Giving away possessions or making a will
  • Making ambiguous statements about not being around in the future
  • Open discussions about suicide or having a suicide plan
  • Previous suicide attempts

If you spot warning signs of suicide, you should talk to your loved one and ask them to speak with a mental health professional. When there is an immediate risk, you should remove dangerous items from the home, make sure you don't leave them alone, and get help from a medical professional immediately.

Crisis Support

If you or someone you love are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

What to Say to Someone Who Is Suicidal

A Word From Verywell

Often the simplest way to initiate a conversation is to be direct: Ask your friend if they are depressed. Don't accuse, threaten, blame, or make light of what your friend is feeling. Let them know that you care and that you are there to talk about it if they want to.

Show your support, look for ways that you can help, and remind them that effective treatments are available. Encourage them to get help from a mental health professional and be on the lookout for signs of suicidal thinking or behavior.

How to Help Someone With Depression

(Video) How to connect with depressed friends | Bill Bernat | TEDxSnoIsleLibraries


What do you say to someone who is mentally down? ›

What to say to someone with a mental illness
  • "Do you want to talk about it? ...
  • "What can I do to help?" ...
  • "That sounds really difficult. ...
  • 4. " ...
  • "I'm really sorry you're going through this. ...
  • "Are you looking for my perspective or would you rather I listen?" ...
  • "I know what you mean. ...
  • "Have you tried yoga or meditation?"
Nov 14, 2019

What do you say to encourage someone who is sad? ›

6 encouraging phrases to say to a person with depression
  • 'It's OK to not feel OK' ...
  • 'You're not alone' ...
  • 'You can move forward in the face of your depression' ...
  • 'I'm here for you, no matter what' ...
  • 'Help is available' ...
  • 'Your story isn't over'

What do you say to someone who is struggling over text? ›

I can understand the feeling of hardship taking over you during this time. I am here to listen, support, and help you in any way possible. We all go through such events, but some social support can help. Let me know how I can support you.

What to text someone who has been depressed? ›

13 Texts To Send To A Friend Who's Going Through It
  • “Just wanted to let you know that you've been on my mind.” ...
  • “Here's a photo of my puppy.” ...
  • “Whenever you feel up to it, I'd love to catch up and hear more about how you've been doing.” ...
  • “Can I call you?” ...
  • “If you'd like company, I'm free to come over and chill.
Jul 20, 2021

What to say to comfort someone struggling? ›

What to say:
  • I'm here with you.
  • There's not a right or wrong way to respond.
  • You don't have to have it all figured out.
  • I am here to help in whatever way is most helpful (and it's okay if you don't know what that is yet).
  • It's okay to be scared.
Mar 14, 2022

What are some uplifting messages? ›

  • “You got this.”
  • “Good luck today! ...
  • “Sending major good vibes your way.”
  • “I know this won't be easy, but I also know you've got what it takes to get through it.”
  • “Hope you're doing awesome!”
  • “Time to go kick cancer's ass!”
  • “Keep on keeping on!”
Aug 25, 2022

How do you uplift someone's mood? ›

5 tips to boost your mood
  1. Smile. 'When you smile it triggers mood-boosting hormones in the brain. ...
  2. Keep busy. ...
  3. Talk to someone. ...
  4. Help others. ...
  5. Live in the moment.
Sep 20, 2022

How do you comfort someone feel better? ›

Best strategies to comfort someone

Feeling bad and not ready to feel better – you can listen empathetically and validate their feelings. Feeling bad but wants to feel better – you can help them feel better using their preferred Comfort Language. Feeling better and wants solutions – you can help them figure out what to ...

How do you uplift someone over text? ›

6 ways to cheer someone up over text
  1. Send them a playlist with some motivational tunes and their favorite songs.
  2. Share a funny video or meme.
  3. Send them a list of 10 things you appreciate about them.
  4. Remind them of a fun memory you share.
  5. Let them know that you're there to support them however they want.
Jul 28, 2022

How do you comfort someone overthinking over text? ›

  1. Apr 5, 2021. How to calm someone down over text. ...
  2. Validate. Don't put words in your friend's mouth but do let them know that they are being heard. ...
  3. ​Get consent. ...
  4. ​Offer options. ...
  5. Maintain boundaries. ...
  6. ​Don't be judgmental. ...
  7. ​Offer them support. ...
  8. ​"I am there"
Apr 5, 2021

What not to say to someone going through a hard time? ›

I found that phrases like these are best avoided when trying to help someone through a hard time: “I can't imagine what you're going through.” This makes the person feel isolated and unseen. Let them explain what they're going through, instead of taking away that chance by saying you couldn't possibly understand.

What do you say to be supportive? ›

Show them you sympathise by saying:
  • "It sounds like you're dealing with a lot at the moment"
  • "I'm really sorry to hear that you're feeling like this right now"
  • "I'm really glad you're sharing this with me"

What is the most comforting thing to say? ›

24 non-wrong things to say to the sad person in your life
  • Can I help by doing x y or z? ...
  • This is a temporary-yet-painful situation. ...
  • It IS hard to imagine a way out of this mess. ...
  • I'm here to listen whenever you need me. ...
  • I'm so glad we're friends. ...
  • I'm sorry you have to go through this.
Jul 17, 2016

How do you talk to someone going through a hard time? ›

ask questions about their experience. respond to their situation with compassion, (try to keep a friendly, neutral expression – pulling very “sympathetic” faces can actually make it harder for some people to talk about how they're feeling) repeat back what you hear to show you've understood. avoid expressing judgment.

What's a short positive message? ›

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” “When you have a dream, you've got to grab it and never let go.” “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

What is one word to encourage someone? ›

Some common synonyms of encourage are embolden, hearten, and inspirit.

What are the 5 positive quotes? ›

Motivational quotes to start your day
  • “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” — ...
  • “Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working.” — ...
  • “Don't settle for average. ...
  • “Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.” — ...
  • “Don't bunt.
May 18, 2020

What to write to someone who is going through a difficult time? ›

Words of encouragement and strength for a friend

This crappy time you're going through is making you stronger and I just know you'll get through this. What is this? Let me help you build up your strength to feel better. Give yourself grace.

How do you reassure someone? ›

10 expressions to Use In Speaking And Writing:
  1. Don't worry.
  2. You'll be fine. / It'll be fine.
  3. What are you worrying for?
  4. There's no need to worry.
  5. There's nothing to worry about.
  6. It'll turn out all right.
  7. It isn't as bad as all that.
  8. Whatever you may have heard...

How do you help someone who is overwhelmed? ›

Let them know you've noticed they seem different lately.
  1. listen. Talking things through openly with someone we trust can help us see things differently. ...
  2. offer reassurance. ...
  3. help them identify their triggers. ...
  4. offer practical support. ...
  5. try calming techniques. ...
  6. encourage them to seek professional help.

How do you comfort someone mentally? ›

What emotional support can I offer?
  1. Listen. Simply giving someone space to talk, and listening to how they're feeling, can be really helpful in itself. ...
  2. Offer reassurance. Seeking help can feel lonely, and sometimes scary. ...
  3. Stay calm. ...
  4. Be patient. ...
  5. Try not to make assumptions. ...
  6. Keep social contact.

How do you cheer someone up mentally? ›

6 ways to cheer someone up over text
  1. Send them a playlist with some motivational tunes and their favorite songs.
  2. Share a funny video or meme.
  3. Send them a list of 10 things you appreciate about them.
  4. Remind them of a fun memory you share.
  5. Let them know that you're there to support them however they want.
Jul 28, 2022

How do you cheer up a mentally unstable person? ›

We could all use some cheering up - here are some ways to brighten your friends' days!
  1. Send a cute animal photo. ...
  2. Plan a game night with a group. ...
  3. Reach out first. ...
  4. Do an extra chore. ...
  5. Send a motivational text. ...
  6. Watch a movie together. ...
  7. If you live near them, plan a socially distant outing! ...
  8. Send a letter.
May 4, 2020

How do you comfort someone who is mentally tired? ›

11 ways to help someone struggling emotionally
  1. Validate their emotions. Letting someone know that they are not alone and being open to what they want to share is an important step. ...
  2. Just show up. ...
  3. Be a good listener. ...
  4. Keep things confidential. ...
  5. Keep the door open. ...
  6. Spend time with them. ...
  7. Offer praise. ...
  8. Offer practical help.
Sep 29, 2021

What are comforting feelings? ›

Comfort, as a noun, is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a state or situation in which one is relaxed and does not experi- ence any or much physical or emotional pain” (“Comfort,” n.d.). Words commonly associated with comfort include calm, cheer, console, relieve, and soothe.

What do you text to cheer someone up? ›

  1. “Whenever you need to call, I'm here.” ...
  2. “I wish I could be there right now.” ...
  3. “You're still in my thoughts. ...
  4. “Your family is lucky to have you through all this.” ...
  5. “Maybe I can't be there, but there's definitely something I can do. ...
  6. “Hey, get well soon. ...
  7. “You're doing a great job with a major responsibility.
Nov 19, 2022

How do you comfort someone online? ›

How to be Supportive to an Online Friend in Need
  1. Don't worry about it not being your place. Don't think you'll somehow make things worse for your friend by intervening. ...
  2. Reach out in private. ...
  3. Help provide options. ...
  4. Just listen. ...
  5. Give them hope.
Aug 2, 2019

What are positive mental health phrases? ›

Inspiring mental health quotes
  • "You don't have to control your thoughts. ...
  • "There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." ― Leonard Cohen.
  • "Deep breathing is our nervous system's love language." — Dr. ...
  • "I think it's really important to take the stigma away from mental health…
Apr 29, 2022

How do you cheer up a hopeless person? ›

There are, however, things you can do to help them right now.
  1. Check in with them gently. ...
  2. Be patient. ...
  3. Show empathy. ...
  4. Offer support. ...
  5. Encourage them to seek professional help. ...
  6. Share your own experiences. ...
  7. Keep inviting them to activities. ...
  8. Take it seriously if they mention self-injury or suicide.

How do you tell someone they need help? ›

With this in mind, we've compiled some tips for how you can broach the subject.
  1. Be mindful of how you word it. ...
  2. Choose a safe, private space to do it. ...
  3. Share your own experience. ...
  4. Make it clear it's because you care. ...
  5. Offer your support in finding the right therapist. ...
  6. Remind them of what they stand to gain.
May 15, 2020

What to text him when he is tired? ›

Good Night Texts
  • I can't wait until the day I can stop texting you goodnight and can just whisper it into your ear.
  • The further away you are, the harder it is for me to fall asleep.
  • Good night darling. ...
  • I hope I dream of you tonight, because I don't think I can stand eight hours away from you.
  • I'm so tired.

What do you say to support a friend? ›

I've found that the best way to support a friend is by showing them you're always there to listen to them.
Here are some examples of conversation starters to get an idea:
  • 'Hey, I'm here for you if you want to talk. ...
  • 'You're my mate, I'm here for you whenever. ...
  • 'You've not seemed like yourself lately.


1. Best Things to Say to Someone Who is Depressed
(Douglas Bloch)
2. 5 Things You Should Never Say To Someone With Depression
3. how to talk to someone with depression (do’s & don’t) 🤍
(psychdarling (연이))
4. How to Talk to a Depressed Person
(The Minimalists)
5. How to talk to someone with depression
(Anna Akana)
6. 5 Things Not To Say To Someone With Depression


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