The Most Unhelpful Things You Can Say to Someone Who Is Depressed


We know sometimes people don’t fully understand our mental illness and are only doing their best when they try to give advice. Never the less, some of the “advice” given can be extremely unhelpful. For example:

“Try not to spend all day in bed. It will only make you feel worse.”

“Why don’t you try and go for a little walk for some fresh air? It will make you feel better.”

“Don’t look at things from such a negative perspective.”

“Why are you so depressed? You have such a good life.” (This one is often followed by a list of the good stuff in your life.)

“Why don’t you get dressed/have a shower?”

“I don’t understand why you are so down… you were doing so well yesterday.”

When people say these things, they usually don’t know how to help or what to say, and saying something is better than saying nothing. I appreciate all attempts to help, but here are some more helpful ideas of things to say to those of us with depression:

“What can I do to help you?”

“Is there anything I can bring you?”

“I’m right here if and when you would like to talk.”

“Shall I just lie here with you?”

“Is there someone on your care plan you would like me to help you contact?”

“I’m always here for you, and I love you.”

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one phrase you wish people would stop saying about your (or a loved one’s) disability, disease or mental illness? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.


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