Skip navigation and jump to content
Welcome to Ireland's Youth Information Website
Follow us
Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Snapchat

Accessibility Options

High Contrast Text Size

How to support a friend who is feeling depressed

You want to be there for them through thick and thin

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health

Share this article -

When a friend is battling with depression, it can be hard to know what to do. They might act differently or just seem ‘off.’ Or, they may have been diagnosed with depression and are open about needing support. Either way, you might be wondering what you can do to help and how you can be there for your friend.

People experiencing depression may have the following symptoms

What you can do to help

Try to be a good listener and encourage your friend to talk. Read our article on being a good listener.

Encourage your friend to seek help, by going to a doctor or perhaps going to a counsellor. If they are already receiving help, encourage them to keep appointments and be a listening ear if they want to talk about how things are going. If they have not looked for your help, you may want to encourage them to do so. Check out our article on visiting your GP for a mental health problem.

Let your friend know you are there for them anytime they want to vent. Reassure them that they can say the same things over and over and you will still listen. Concentrate on listening as best as you can, rather than offering opinions or advice, as often people who are feeling depressed can find advice (even well intentioned) overwhelming. Having someone to listen to can be a tremendous help. For tips on how to be a good listener, click here.

Be open to different forms of communication. It may be tough for your friend to express their deeper feelings face to face, so being open to text messages, email or Facebook could be a great way to keep the communication open and your support solid.

Do some reading about depression. There are tons of books on it out there as well as a lot of supportive websites. You might find sites such as Aware and Grow helpful.

Shower them in praise (or at least a nice sprinkle!). People experiencing mental health difficulties often judge themselves harshly and put themselves down - a lot. Make sure they know how much they genuinely knock your socks off.

Remind them that depression is a health issue and not some personal flaw. Fact. Simple as.

Offer to help with everyday tasks that need to be done such as housework or paying bills. A person dealing with depression may sometimes find these types of things overwhelming.

Do things together. Even simple things like a trip to the cinema or a walk can bring their spirits up. Remind them how great it is to have a lovely friend like you.

If they are drinking a lot of alcohol or taking a lot of drugs, try to encourage them to stop, as excessive use can make depression go from dark to darker.

Your friend may need to go to a doctor or service to help them with their depression. Sometimes, it can help if a friend or family member goes with them. For advice on going with your friend to a mental health service, click here.

Look after yourself. Taking care of or even helping a person with depression can be extremely draining and difficult. Try to get help from others who can also support your friend through their depression, so that the pressure is not all just on you. Also, make time for de-stressing activities such as exercise and spending time with friends.

When your friend has depression, there are certain things you could say that might be really hurtful to them - read about some of these things here.

I think my friend is suicidal

If you are concerned that your friend is suicidal, don't hesitate to talk to them about your concerns. Find out here what to do if you're concerned your friend is suicidal.

Share this article -

Published Decem­ber 19th2012
Last updated June 25th2018
Tags depression mental health wellbeing
Can this be improved? Contact if you have any suggestions for this article.

Need more information?

Request to speak with a youth worker in your area over the phone, by email or text. They may be able to assist you by providing further information specific to your needs.

Youth Work Ireland - Crosscare - YMCA

Contact via: Phone E-mail Text
By clicking submit you agree to our terms and conditions. ​Please note that this service is run by Youth Work Ireland and Crosscare​.​ E​nquiries are not handled by directly.
Jump to related articles
Was this article helpful?