How to Deal With Depressed People

Depression is a common disorder.
Depression is a common disorder. (Image: sad image by Alexandra Gnatush-Kostenko from

Depressed people experience feelings of sadness, emptiness and irritability. While everyone feels down or blue occasionally, symptoms of depression last for months. Dealing with a depressed person can frustrate family members, friends and co-workers. Learning new ways to handle those with depression reduces caregiver stress and may improve the outlook of the depressed.

Let go of existing ideas about depression. People with depression are not just being lazy and they cannot just snap out of the depression. Dealing with a depressed person is more complex than these stereotypes suggest. Recognize depression may have biological causes and will likely respond to professional treatment.

Learn about depression. Depression exists in many forms and symptoms may differ from person to person. The treatment options vary with the type and severity of depression. Understanding both the type of depression and its treatment may improve relations between those who aren’t depressed and those who are.

Practice self care. Spending time with someone depressed can be difficult. Family members and friends will be more helpful if healthy. Depressed people have little to give, so it is important for caretakers to take care of themselves.

Encourage the depressed to pursue healthy activities, including treatment. Depression affects one’s judgment. Those affected by depression may not think of meeting with a therapist or physician. Neither is it apparent to leave the house to do daily activities or exercise. Support them in these activities.

Provide practical support to those suffering from depression. Help them pay bills, go grocery shopping or clean the house for them. Assisting them with these daily activities not only is useful, but motivates the depressed to improve functioning.

Know the signs of impending suicide. If someone appears to be suicidal, contact a professional. Discussing suicide with one who is depressed does not give them any ideas, but it may allow someone to find additional help if necessary.

Tips & Warnings

  • Set boundaries with the depressed individual. If a person is stressed out, they won’t be helpful to the depressed.
  • Don’t ignore remarks about suicide.

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