How to Help Someone With Depression & Anxiety

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Having a friend or family member with depression or anxiety can be extremely stressful. You want to help, but you’re not quite sure what to do—or whether anything you do can help at all. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to ease the toll of depression and anxiety. And by taking good care of yourself, you can better help your friends and family successfully fight against depression and anxiety.

Know that depression and anxiety are conditions, not moral failings. A person with depression or anxiety can’t just “feel better” because you tell them to do so. And if they are upset, sad or anxious, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve caused those feelings.

Understand that it takes time to recover from depression or anxiety. Your friend or family member isn’t going to get better in a day, so treat changing moods as normal.

Try to interact with a depressed or anxious person. Their condition may make him try to hide away from other people, but that just makes his condition worse.

Listen. Talking about their feelings—even when they are very negative—can help people with depression or anxiety.

Support the person with any therapy or medication regimens. Remind him to go to appointments or take his medication.

Making small gestures—such as writing a note or making a phone call—can help someone with depression or anxiety feel at least a little better.

Take care of yourself. Your needs are important too, and you’re not being selfish when you fulfill your own desires.

Tips & Warnings

  • If someone with depression or anxiety starts talking about death or suicide or if their depression suddenly worsens, they may be at risk of suicide. Take this behavior seriously (see Resources below for more information).

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