Skip to main content

How to help someone with depression

Some of the advice on this page may be difficult to follow during the coronavirus outbreak. Read more about minding your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.

Depression can develop slowly. Someone who is experiencing depression sometimes doesn't 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 be depressed

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 doesn't have much energy
  • is overeating or has lost their appetite
  • is sleeping more than usual or isn't able to sleep
  • has trouble concentrating on everyday things

Related topics


Tips to help someone who seems down

There are a few ways you can help someone who is feeling down:

  • 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 which 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

Related topics

Being a good listener

Ways to help someone who is going through a tough time

Practical ways to help someone

When to get help

Contact your GP if the person you're worried about says they are feeling suicidal. If the person is attending a mental health service, speak to their mental health team.

page last reviewed: 23/09/2018
next review due: 23/09/2021

Do you need to talk to someone right now?

Free call Samaritans 116 123