U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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.

  • “Tell me how you are feeling. I’m here to support and listen to you.”
  • “I’m worried about you. I think you may need to talk to a doctor about depression.”
  • “Let me remind you of all the great things I love about you.”
  • “I really like to spend time with you. Let’s take a walk or go to a movie together.”

Offer hope.

  • “You aren't alone. Many people suffer from depression, and it's nothing to be ashamed of.”
  • “Depression is an illness that can be treated. Getting help is the best thing you can do.”
  • “Most people get better with treatment — even people who have severe depression.”
  • “There are different ways to treat depression, including medicine and talk therapy. Getting active might also help you feel better.”

Offer to help.

  • “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 psychologist or social worker.”
  • “Get help right away if you are having hopeless thoughts or are thinking about hurting yourself. Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).”
  • “You can call or text me anytime if you need support or you just want to talk.”