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How To Help A Depressed Friend: Guide To Helping Someone With Depression

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How to make a Depressed Person Happy: guidelines for helping someone with depression.

Depression in its own way is a very serious mental and emotional problem. It is a state of self-influenced sadness and isolation. This condition, though treatable can lead to suicide.

Depression most of the time does not only affect the depressed, it has a way of jeopardizing relationships and bringing enmity into a home where love once reigned. If your friend or family member is depressed, what do you do? Will you watch them suffer or will you help then walk through it? I know it is very challenging to help a person with depression but if you are willing to which you should, you are required to first know the causes and then the symptoms of their depression.

Causes Of Depression.

Some depression may be caused by;

  • Loss of a loved one (whether death or breakup)
  • Poor performance (academically and otherwise)
  • Betrayal by a loved one
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Genetics disorders
  • Mental disorder and other medical conditions.

Symptoms of depression.

To know if your friend is depressed, look out for the following signs:

  • Loss of interest in activities,
  • Oversleeping or insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Guilt
  • Mood swings
  • Low self esteem
  • Over sensitivity
  • Loss of appetite or excessive hunger, etc.

As a friend or relative of the depressed, it is very important for you to show them love, care and be understanding as this can go a long way to help them recover. You can help them recover by reassuring them, listening to them, being there for them to help them get rid of their negative thoughts.

Guidelines for helping someone with depression

It is well known that it is easier to be happy when your friend is happy. As a good friend, your friend’s happiness should be your priority. Now the question is, does it feel impossible to drag your friend out of his or her depression? If your answer is yes, it could be that you have not been doing it right. Here are some steps that can help you bring smiles to his or her face again.

  1. Pray for him or her

If you are as spiritual as I am, then you will agree with me that prayers solve problems, your friend’s problem can also be solved by this. There are times you may not know the right words to say or the right things to do. There are times when words and skills may fail; you have to call on The One who never fails to intervene in the situation. Some people see this as their last line of action after all others have failed but I advise that this should be the first as it will help make whatever effort you will be putting in a success. God is the real joy giver.

  1. Be a happy person yourself

The first step to making another person happy is being happy yourself. Happiness is contagious; you cannot give out what you do not have. Making someone happy is like embarking on a journey, it can be very exhausting. Work on yourself, let go of your own hurt, get a life and develop some patience because you will need it on this journey.

  1. Listen more

People don’t always talk to people because they need advice; sometimes, they talk because they just need a person to listen. You have to be able to discern what their need is so you can know when to advise and when not to. Do not also always be in a haste to lay down your own complains when you friend is talking about his. I know you too have challenges but for the sake of the love you have for your friend, put them behind you and work towards solving his.

  1. Be understanding

It may really be hard to understand what your friend is going through but the fact remains that if you do not understand how he feels, you may never be able to help him overcome his struggle. When dealing with your depressed friend, try to put yourself in his shoe and try to imagine what happened to him happened to you. With that, you will be able to feel like they do and hence, relate with them like you should.

  1. Stop being judgmental

No matter how silly the reason for your friend’s depression may be, try not to judge. A depressed person has a way of seeing everything in the world from a distorted perspective and you have to be really patient with him. Judging him will make him withdraw from you and others and he may not be able to open up easily about their challenges again. When you lose this chance, it may be very difficult to make them happy again.

  1. Be serious with their feelings

It’s very easy to joke with what your friends say about their feelings because you are used to them but this should not come in when you notice they are sad or depressed. Try not to laugh even if it is funny, they could be really pissed off with it.

Forgetting what they told you could also be a sign that you are not serious about how they feel. If you forget easily, you may want to write it down and go through it some minutes before meeting your friend.

  1. Be trustworthy

The worst thing you can do to a depressed person is to betray them. It may even be difficult for your friend to even tell you what’s going on in their life if there had been a history of you betraying them in your relationship. Now let’s assume you didn’t betray them and they have started opening up to you. You have to be very careful of who you disclose your friend’s challenges to. If there is a pressing need to talk to someone about your friends’ issue, then take a look at the next option.

  1. Seek for help on their behalf

There are some challenges you and your friend may not be able to handle alone. If this is your situation, take your friends to a counselor or anyone who is more enlightened in the area of your friends’ challenge. If your friends doesn’t want to come with you, try not to force them; instead, go out and talk to the counsel giver yourself. In this situation, your friends may react differently when they find out what you’ve done but you have to be prepared to handle them well according to how they respond. Like I said earlier, patience is really needed in this game.

  1. Fulfill your promises

Think twice or more before you make any promise to a depressed friends, he or she may not understand why you couldn’t keep to the promise and this may even increase the intensity of their depression. A depressed person may see your inability to keep to your promise as their fault (yes, they may think you feel they are undeserving) though this may not be true. To avoid this from happening, stop making promises and switch into giving them surprises. If you must make a promise, be 110% sure you will keep to it, no excuses.

  1. Say something funny

Stop being too serious, it doesn’t take anything from a person to be a little silly every once in a while. Take some time out to say funny things, make a fool of yourself. When you do this, you will spark up their smile and ignite their happiness; the happiness you really wanted.

  1. Spend time with them

Not everybody needs money and plenty talks, some people just need to know that they are precious enough to have your quality time. Prove your friend right by making time for them, do some little things together. These little things could be all they need to get back on their feet. Don’t always be in a haste when you are with them; take your time to show them how much you love being with them. Love is all we need.

  1. Take them to special places.

A change of environment can be really healing. You don’t need to be super rich to take your friend out. Take him to see nature; nature itself is a healing balm. Let the fresh air brush his skin and brush out all his troubles. When you go out, encourage him to take advantage of the environment to express himself and let go of the hurt.

  1. Don’t forget to look out for yourself

Looking out for a depressed friend can be really exhausting, you yourself will be experiencing an upsurge of emotions (anger, sadness, frustration, etc.) and you must make out sometime to refill and make yourself better. Do not let go of yourself to make another person happy, keep being you and let your friend drink from your overflow.

Note: Despite what has been listed here and all you will do, you have to know that your friends are the persons in-charge of their own happiness and they have a really great role to play.

You can’t force happiness on them; it is their choice to make. All you can truly do for them is to encourage them to makegood choices and live better lives. Thank you for being a good friend.

For more life changing motivational articles, visit NaijaGists Motivation Column.



  1. Janet

    June 16, 2019 at 12:57 AM

    Thanks a bunch, I need this for my mom. She has been alone since she had me and I feel something is missing in her life. She is always down.
    I will share some ideas I read here with her

  2. iron bar

    June 16, 2019 at 2:55 AM

    its on the rise.

  3. Fifelomo

    June 16, 2019 at 2:39 PM

    Useful info, tanx….

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