Talking About Depression

Talking to your friend or family member about what he or she is experiencing can often be a vital step in the recovery process. Whether you are suggesting getting help from a professional or encouraging the person to continue with treatment, it is important to pay attention to what you say and how you say it.

Tips for a Successful Conversation

  • Demonstrate “active listening.” Before expressing your own ideas, try to restate in your own words what the person has just told you. In doing so, you show that you have really understood what he or she is feeling.
  • Do not worry about having the “right answer.” Just your presence and attentiveness are extremely helpful.
  • Do not downplay the feelings of the depressed person. Telling him or her that she does not seem that sick, even if you consider this positive, may exacerbate his or her condition.
  • Do not forget to express your love and support, and that he or she is not alone.

Talking to a Loved One Who is Getting Treatment

  • Do not think that someone receiving treatment does not need to talk anymore. Many patients become discouraged in the first weeks of treatment; especially when they cannot detect real improvement in their condition. It is essential to stay in close contact with the person and encourage him or her to stay with it.
  • Make positive comments. Tell them about the improvements you observe, no matter how slight.
  • Keep reassuring the person that they will feel better in time.