How do I talk to someone I think is depressed?
Talking to someone who is depressed, particularly if you’re a friend or family member, is a very important and in some ways can be extremely helpful. The most important element is to, at some point during that discussion, to acknowledge that you understand that they’re depressed or down or sad and give them an opportunity to talk about why they’re feeling down or depressed or sad.
The first step in talking to someone with depression
So the first step is to build some sort of rapport or support towards that person so they feel comfortable to talk about what’s going on in their life, the sort of symptoms that they have and create, let’s call it a safe environment where they’re able to disclose to you what is going on with them.
Having created that safe environment, trusting environment, and if you are a friend or a family member, or indeed a work colleague, that should allow that individual to talk more about what’s going on in their life, why they’re feeling depressed and what are some of the causes.
Once again, good listening, some probing, some encouragement for them to talk more honestly will then hopefully allow a sense of what is the underlying problem. What are the underlying issues? What are the stresses in their life that could be contributing?
Where can they get help for depression?
And then finally, and hopefully, that whole situation enables a discussion about where to next, who should they see for professional help, encouragement to go and see a GP or encouragement to talk to a counsellor or psychologist. So the trick really, if you’re a family or friend, is to understand what is happening and hopefully, the outcome of all of that is for them, i.e. the person who is depressed, to go and seek help from a professional.
Dr Matthew Cullen, Psychiatrist, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney
Last Reviewed: 17/09/2020
Bipolar disorder (sometimes called manic-depression) is an illness, a medical condition.
Depression - Aboriginal health
Sometimes, people feel very sad and don't know why. If you've felt this way for a while, it's possible you might have depression. Depression affects the mind, it's pretty common, and can affect anyone.
Video: I think my child is depressed
Many parents worry that their child has depression. So, what should you do if you think your child is depressed?
How can I support a person whose mental health is deteriorating?
What can you do if a person's mental health is deteriorating?
Early childhood - Aboriginal families
Your child is important to the whole community and we can all help them grow up strong, healthy and proud. The most important thing our children need is to feel loved, cared for and safe.