Even if you mean well, saying the wrong thing to a loved one or friend who is depressed might only make them feel worse. Luckily, CBS News offers the following tips of what you should and shouldn’t say to help support someone who’s hurting.
Don’t say: “Lots of people are worse off than you are.” Even if this is true, it doesn’t feel that way at the moment, and does not help your loved one. Being told she is needlessly feeling sorry for herself could make her feel even worse.
Do say: “You’re not alone in this.”
Don’t say: “No one ever said life was fair.” This comes off as a dismissal of your friend’s feelings.
Do say: “You’re important to me.”
Don’t say: “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.” Your friend does not know how to stop feeling depressed. Depression is a physical illness, like diabetes or heart disease, and sufferers cannot get over it just by trying harder.
Do say: “Let me help you.”
Don’t say: “So you’re depressed. Aren’t you always?” This minimizes what can be a serious disorder.
Do say: “You are not going crazy.”
Don’t say: “It’s your own fault.” No one chooses depression.
Do say: “I’ll stick with you through this.”
Don’t say: “Believe me, I know how you feel. I was once depressed for several days.” Depression is different from just feeling sad or blue.
Do say: “I’ll do my best to understand.”