Living with someone experiencing depression

If you live with someone having the experience of depression it’s not easy at times. When they’re struggling, it can be hard to know what to do and say.

tear drop on leaf by Thorsten Becker at FlickrIt’s not uncommon to have feelings of anger, frustration, guilt or fear and to feel overwhelmed from time-to-time.

Make sure you look after yourself too.

Learn about depression

Having an idea about the symptoms of depression can help you to understand why someone might behave the way they do.

This can help you separate the problem from the person and realise that the person’s mood or behaviour isn’t usually directed at you personally.

Put yourself first sometimes

This can be hard and you may feel guilty doing something for yourself. But, it is important that you do. Making time to do things you enjoy is an important part of looking after yourself and your family member.


Having time away from your family member can also be important and allow you to relax. Try to spend some time doing what you enjoy. You may want to play a sport, hang out with friends, listen to music or go for a walk.

Talk about what they find useful

Make conversations about depression easy and open. Try asking about what helps them when they’re feeling depressed. By talking openly, the person will feel supported. You could talk about what you’ve read and ask how they feel about it.

Support activities

If you’re living with someone who is experiencing depression you may sometimes feel you’re different or alone. Friends may not understand what it is like for you. Talking to people who are in a similar situation can be really helpful.

Visit Shine – Supporting People Affected By Mental Ill Health, which provides some support initiatives for families and relatives and it may be a good place to start.

Helpful sites

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