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How to help someone with depression

Depression can develop slowly. Someone who is experiencing depression might not realise it.

Often it's a partner, family member or carer who first realises that help is needed. They may encourage their friend or relative to see their GP or find some other source of support.

Signs that someone may have depression

Depression has lots of possible symptoms.

You may notice that someone:

  • has lost interest in doing things they normally enjoy
  • seems to be feeling down or hopeless
  • has slower speech and movements or is more fidgety and restless than usual
  • feels tired or does not have much energy
  • is overeating or has lost their appetite
  • is sleeping more than usual or is not able to sleep
  • has trouble concentrating on everyday things

Symptoms of depression

Low mood - tips and self-help

Urgent advice: Contact their GP if:

  • the person you are worried about says they are feeling suicidal

If the person is attending a mental health service, speak to their mental health team.

Accompanying someone to mental health services

Tips to help someone who has depression

There are a few ways you can help someone who has depression:

  • Let them know you care and are there to listen.
  • Accept them as they are, without judging them.
  • Help them to stay active, eat good food and get a good night's sleep.
  • Find support groups and psychological therapy services that may be available.
  • Stay in touch with them by messaging, texting, phoning or meeting for coffee - people who are depressed can become isolated and may find it difficult to leave their home.
  • Try to be patient.
  • Take care of yourself.

What to say to someone with depression

Organisations that provide mental health support and services

How to support someone with depression or bipolar disorder -

Page last reviewed: 1 September 2022
Next review due: 1 September 2025