Mallory Welsh, LCSW

Struggling with depression can be incredibly challenging for an individual, but it can also be very challenging for their friends or family members who can’t seem to help their loved one feel better.

One of the first questions I ask a client who is struggling with depression is what kind of support system they have in place. The reason I ask is that a good support system is one way to move closer to the end goal of feeling happier. If someone you know is struggling with depression and they have confided in you about their struggles, that is quite an honor for you! They likely really trust you if they are being open to you about it. However, it can be overwhelming at times to try to help someone with their depression.

Below is a simple guide on ways to help them start to feel better:

  • Fun night in. Your friend could be struggling with the idea of going out and being social with people (depending on the individual). Planning a fun night in, whether it is ordering their favorite food, cooking, baking, or watching a funny movie could help increase their mood.
  • Fun night out. If your friend is sick of staying in and wants to go out, plan a fun night out! Trying a new restaurant could help them get out of the funk of staying in every night.
  • Go to a workout class. Working out certainly has a connection to increasing mood due to the endorphins it provides both the mind and body. Try a new workout class that you think your friend would enjoy such as an indoor cycling class, pure barre, dance class, or whatever class you think he/she would enjoy most.
  • Let them talk. Sometimes just letting your friend talk about how they’re feeling will also help increase their mood. Allowing them a space to share they are feeling down/depressed can also help them as they won’t feel like they need to keep suppressing their feelings.
  • Give them some words of affirmation. Boost them up! Odds are if they are feeling depressed, they may have forgotten some of their strengths and positive qualities. Write it down for them or tell them in person, whichever way you think would help them the most!
  • Ask them what you can do to help. Sometimes someone feeling depressed can get overwhelmed with people trying to help them feel better. Simply asking them what you can do to be supportive of them is the best way to help as everyone copes with their depression differently.
  • Check in on them. Making sure to keep checking in on them whether it is weekly or daily (depending how concerned you feel about them). With technology these days, there are so many options: a phone call, text message, FaceTime, or sending them an inspirational Facebook or Instagram message.

Helping a friend with depression can be very challenging. While this list provided seven different approaches, try to focus on the one that you think will help you best help your friend or family member.

There can be several contributing factors that cause someone to feel depressed, which is something a skilled clinician can help someone discover. Uncovering the contributing factors is very important to discovering which interventions and coping mechanisms should be used.

If you too are currently struggling with depression in your life, it may be a good idea to connect with one of our skilled counselors at Symmetry Counseling today. You can contact them at 312-578-9990 to set up an appointment.