Mental Health

How-to Help Loved Ones Struggling with Depression

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September 28, 2017

Helpful Words of Hope When Loved Ones Struggle

How to Help Loved Ones Struggling with Depression

We’ve all been there: that place in our minds where we want to crawl under a rock, hide forever, and feel like there’s nothing good on the horizon.

How to Help Loved Ones Struggling with Depression

Sometimes friends and family can pull us out, help us cope, and teach us to manage the stress of life a little better. Sometimes – for some, the darkness becomes an abyss so deep that it’s hard for anyone to find them.

If you’ve ever had a family or friend who struggles with depression, or even suicidal thoughts, you know how helpless and scary it can be.

You’re scared to say the wrong thing.

… They provide so many reasons for giving up, or dying.

And your reasons for living seem to fall flat…

But the truth is, there are many reasons for living.

Emotional pain has an ironic power – it feels so big people can feel like they’re being swallowed up, but it also has this shrinking effect that limits people’s vision and perspective. It can blind them to the bigger picture and they get tunnel vision.

How to Help Loved Ones Struggling with Depression

When your loved one is not in imminent danger, here are a few key phrases you can speak when helping them find the light.

*Remember, empathy is key. Don’t correct people’s feelings. Help them describe their experience. Then, work with them to build a vision that realistically addresses each hurdle they face. Don’t rush. This can be a process.

  1. You are not alone. I want to help.

  2. I love you. We can find solutions.

  3. This is painful, you’re right. Let’s figure out how to endure this together.

I heard an acronym once that’s stuck with me throughout the years.

FEAR is:





Depression has many forms, but hopelessness tends to always be one facet.

And hopelessness is rooted in fear.

Fear that says, “You’re alone, no one loves you, no one can help.” Dismantling hopelessness and fear is helping others slowly pull away puzzle pieces that create a dismal picture. New pieces need to be put in place. Hope comes when we have a vision of good ahead, and hope stays when we take positive action that allow for positive results. It’s even better when those who love us walk with us into that new reality.

*Please consult a trusted friend, therapist, doctor, and/or the line below for more help and information.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).




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