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Depression: Conversation Starters

Depression: Conversation Starters

Depression can be hard to talk about. But if a friend or loved one is depressed, having a conversation about getting help can make a big difference. Use these tips to start talking.

Show you care.

You can say:

  • “How are you feeling? I’m here to listen to you and support you.”
  • “I’m concerned about you. I think you may need to talk to someone about depression. I want you to get the help you need to feel better.”
  • “I'd really like to spend more time with you. Let’s take a walk, grab something to eat, or go to a movie.”

Offer hope.

You can say:

  • “You're not alone. Many people suffer from depression
    — it's nothing to be ashamed of.”
  • “Depression is treatable. Getting help is the best thing you can do.”
  • “Many people get better with treatment — even people who have severe depression.”
  • “There are different ways to treat depression, including therapy and medicine.”
  • “Getting more physical activity can lower your stress level and help you feel better.”

Offer to help.

You can say:

  • “Let me help you figure out what’s going on. You can start by making an appointment with your doctor — or I can help you find someone else to talk to, like a counselor, therapist, or social worker.”
  • “I can give you a ride to your therapy appointment or remind you to take your medicine.”
  • “You can call or text me at any time if you need support — or if you just want to talk.”

Ask life-saving questions.

For example, you might ask: “Have you felt hopeless or thought about hurting yourself recently? I'm here for you. Let's call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).”

Content last updated December 2, 2021

Reviewer Information

This information on depression was adapted from materials from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Reviewed by:
Natalie Zeigler
National Institute of Mental Health
National Institutes of Health

For more information on how to help someone with depression, check out: