Information for Family & Friends

If you suspect someone you know is suffering from depression there are a few things to keep in mind. Someone with depression may be unwilling or unable to ask for help.8 That is why partners, parents, adult children and friends need to be proactive in reaching out and staying involved. Your loved one’s recovery may depend on it.

Be Supportive

Even though you cannot replace treatment given by a healthcare professional, you can have a great impact on someone’s life by offering them practical as well as emotional support.

  • Practical support can include things like accompanying them to a doctor’s appointment or even making it for them, picking up their children from school or extracurricular activities, and taking some time to cook a meal with them a couple of times a week.
  • Emotional support can include calling them nightly to see how they are feeling, meeting for coffee or tea once a week to catch up, and encouraging them to stick with their treatment program. Your emotional support can help get them on the road to improvement.

Recognize Depression

Supporting someone with depression begins with the ability to recognize it. Depression can include a broad range of symptoms.2,4,12 Learn as much as you can in order to understand depression.

Talking about Depression

You may find it difficult to begin a discussion about depression with your friend or loved one. A calm environment like a local park away from the stresses of work can help the conversation flow easier.

Build a Network of Support

As part of one’s support system, you should encourage your friend or loved one to seek professional help. Stress to them that it is important for them to speak to a doctor, because only a healthcare professional can diagnose depression.

Take Care of Yourself

Your role in providing support is vital. Learn more about what to expect when someone you know is undergoing treatment and how to talk about depression with a loved one.

Take Suicidal Thoughts Seriously

Thoughts about death or suicide may occur in those suffering from depression. The frequency, intensity and lethality of these thoughts can vary greatly from one individual to the next. However, it is important to take these thoughts seriously.4 If someone you are caring for expresses thoughts like this or feels like giving up, GET HELP IMMEDIATELY:

  • Call your doctor
  • Go to the emergency room
  • Call 911

Learn About Treatments

There are a number of treatments available to those suffering from depression. You and your loved one may not even know where to begin. Asking questions is always a great place to start. Find out more by reading Questions About Treatment.