How do you help someone struggling with depression without offending them or upsetting them? - Christian Family Solutions

How do you help someone struggling with depression without offending them or upsetting them?


By Melissa Silbaugh, MSW, APSW, School-Based Therapist, Christian Family Solutions


That’s a great question. Depression is a tricky subject that many people tiptoe around. After all, we all want to be liked and none of us really likes to offend people.

Perhaps you could ask the person questions that focus on their well-being without using the “d” word. For example, help the person notice changes that happen in their behavior when they are experiencing a heightened level of depression.

Are they skipping meals?

Do they fail to shower?

Is the person not calling/texting you back?

Then, gently suggest that they do these positive things, even if they don’t feel like it.

More importantly, share the fact that you notice these things. When you notice, you are showing up for the person.

You don’t even need to say a lot of words. Maybe you just show up to their house, get in the kitchen, and do the dishes. Figure out what matters to them. Do they appreciate quality time? Go over to their house, put on a movie, and watch it with them. No need to talk. Silent support is sometimes all they need.

If you wish to speak with them directly about their depression, try to find out what they experience from their perspective, and then validate that. It’s not really helpful to say, “I know how you feel” or “I get what you are going through.” Instead, ask some simple questions like,

“What is your depression like for you?”

“Is today one of those days for you? What do you notice about yourself physically when you’re having one of those days?”


“What do you do when you feel this coming on?”

Finally, you can remind a person with depression symptoms of the positive things they need to hear:

You are never a burden.

You are not alone in this.

People love to care for you.



These answers aren’t comprehensive … They are a start. If you or someone you know needs counseling please call Christian Family Solutions Counseling Care & Services at 800-438-1772.

If you are experiencing a health emergency of any kind, please dial 911.

If you are having suicidal thoughts or know someone who is, call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.


CFS icon

Summer Counseling at CFS has immediate availability

Learn More Here