what not to say to someone coping with depression

simply stephen / September 13, 2011

Part 1 of 2 on what to say (and not say) to someone coping with depression

part 1 – what not to say to someone coping with depression

part 2 – what to say to someone coping with depression

There are certain things one wouldn’t say to a dying or grieving person. The same is true for someone coping with depression and yet some people are still insensitive to a depressed persons needs. Those needs are no different than anyone who is sick.

offer support & understanding

A depressed person is sick and needs rest, comfort, love and assistance to recover. Without your help the road will be much harder for them.

Here’s 40 things not to say to someone coping with depression:

  1. everything will be okay
  2. I understand
  3. I know how you feel I was depressed for a few days once
  4. your depression is a way to get back at us
  5. it’s always about you
  6. have you tried tea
  7. what is your problem
  8. it’s all in your mind
  9. quit your whining
  10. nobody cares anyway
  11. you are a tough cookie, I thought you were stronger
  12. grow up
  13. it’s a great day…just enjoy it
  14. you have so much to be grateful for
  15. happiness is a choice
  16. at least it’s not that bad
  17. have you tried vitamins
  18. you are what you think you are…if you project it, it will happen
  19. why can’t you be normal
  20. you should get out more
  21. try a hot bath or shower to make you feel better
  22. get a job
  23. you need a hobby
  24. you need more friends
  25. just change it
  26. you look fine
  27. you are always looking for attention
  28. we all have good days and bad days
  29. trying smiling more and having more fun
  30. you brought it on yourself
  31. the only person you are hurting is yourself
  32. leave me alone
  33. stop thinking about it
  34. try a little harder
  35. snap out of it
  36. get some fresh air
  37. there is always someone worse off than you
  38. who said life is fair
  39. stop feeling sorry for yourself
  40. it’s your own fault

This list is just a starter but I hope you get the point.

Most importantly – don’t say NOTHING.

Your silence speaks a thousand words. If you say nothing it will seem as if you don’t care. But saying so many things out of ignorance are hurtful and harmful. They are patronizing and condescending. This may not be intentional but it gets that result.

A depressed person is very sensitive so be careful with what you say. Instead of being insensitive and thinking you are providing help, start educating yourself and share this with everyone.

Did you know at least 1 in 5 people, or just under 20%, will suffer from depression during their lifetime? And yet half the population sees it as a weakness not a sickness.

The World Health Organization estimates that over 120 million people are currently suffering from depression. About a quarter of those have access to treatment.  If you add other mental health issues those numbers are staggering and treatment can make a huge difference. You can help by spreading the word. In the second part of this brief list, I will take the time to explore what to say and do for someone that is depressed.


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