How to deal with a loved one who is depressed and/or suicidal


Depression is no easy thing to deal with. Both for the depressed individual and the people who love these individuals. If you have a friend or family member who are depressed or have suicidal thoughts, these are the things to keep in mind:

1. Never take light of their situation and feelings.

Many people who have never been in this situation before cannot understand what this individual is feeling. If you've never been depressed and suicidal before, you will never understand what goes on in that person's head and how they see the world.

A depressed and suicidal individual usually just sees themselves in being in a tunnel with no way out. The other end is blocked and no light seems to seep through. It seems to them as if there's no hope, no future, nothing good waiting for them in the future. That's why they don't see any sense in staying in that tunnel for the next 5 or so decades. No, they just want to end it now so they don't have to feel any pain anymore.

Saying things that signals you not taking their pain seriously would be a huge mistake.

"Oh come on now, let's not think like that..." - those suicidal thoughts aren't exactly controllable. You can't just turn them on and off whenever you want. So saying this would not help anyone, maybe even hurt the person further.

"Things are going to be better soon." - unless you're God, also avoid saying this. No one knows what's going to happen, and saying this cliche would definitely do nothing to help.

"Life is beautiful, why do you want to go so soon?" - clearly, life is no longer beautiful for them. You should understand that.

"Suicide is selfish and stupid" - right, because calling a depressed person selfish and stupid is helpful. Before these words come out of your mouth, think about this: why do you think someone wants to end their life? Is it because they're selfish or stupid? No. It's because they have tried to find a way out of their problems, and can't seem to locate one. So words like these would only make that person uber mad at you, I guarantee. It will only make things worse.

"Times like these are going to pass." - The only thing that's going to "pass" without help is the person's soul, passing on to the other side. Also not helpful, since depression is not a phase. It's a psychological condition that needs to be treated properly.

So what can you say to a depressed/suicidal loved one?

2. Be there for them.

Say: "I know you're miserable. I might not be able to understand what you're going through, but I'm here for you."

And then offer to do something to spend more time with them, as much and as often as you can. Think of it like this: the more time they spend with people they love, the less time they have to feel lonely, to wallow in self-pity, to think about how murky and dark their lives look like. Depending on the how far or near the person is towards the actual act of suicide, the more they have someone spend time with them, the less time they have to think about how attractive suicide can be, and they can't possibly kill themselves while you were there, can they? You wouldn't let them.

Additional advice: do with them things they've never done before. Help them find new hobbies, meet new people, find things that spike their interests and -hopefully- would make them want to delay their suicide. If they find a new exciting thing to do, or met an amazing girl or boy, they might just cancel their one way trips to the spirit world.

3. Push them to get professional help.

Talking to a professional will help them sort their feelings and thoughts out. And a professional will usually have advice on simple steps on how to deal with their numerous problems. In my case, talking to a professional helped me understand why I now feel the way I do, what life circumstances had led to those, even if I haven't found the way out of it yet. It's hard work, and sometimes the therapist would make me do things I don't feel like doing, but in the end, it was good for me, as he had foreseen.

Talking to a professional could help the individual understand themselves more and maybe be less harsh on themselves, since sometimes, not all our failures are our faults. Sometimes circumstances just puts us there. Sometimes the game just gives us shitty cards.

How to deal with a loved one who is depressed and/or suicidal

So there you go. I hope this take can help you understand what a depressed and/or suicidal individual might be going through, and help you know what to say or not say when a beloved one tells you they're suffering from this psychological condition.

If you have any additional information, please write in the comments.

How to deal with a loved one who is depressed and/or suicidal
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Most Helpful Girl

  • MariellaRo
    The worst thing is though when they don't want to see a therapist because they think they don't need one. My father has been depressed for decades, but he won't go. Every four or five years, when he's hit rock bottom once again, someone convinces him that it would be best to go to therapy. And then five days later he gets a new temporary contract at work and he still feels awful but not bad enough to call a therapist anymore. This time, just a few weeks ago, I actually sat him down at the kitchen table and made him call 10 people, two of which actually picked up (yay!). And now he has an appointment in a few weeks which I hope he will actually go to. I wanna ring up the therapist so bad and be like "Don't let him cancel the appointment, don't let him lie to you about how he's feeling better, but whatever you do, don't give him drugs if he's not going to therapy". Because for some reason, everybody up until now did exactly that, and I'm so angry both at them and him, mostly because I can't do anyting. If he doesn't want to go, he won't, and there's nothign I can say to change that.
    Is this still revelant?
    • Anonymous

      yeah I can see how frustrating that would be.
      Maybe get everyone in your family to be on your side?
      Or talk to him in a way that you KNOW had always work in the past? Like if you know he has a strong sense of responsibility, use that to get him moving?

    • Anonymous

      Some people are just addicted to their own sadness and worries...

    • MariellaRo

      His girlfriend, my brother, we're all trying to convince him, but, as you said, for some reason, he seems t be addicted to his sadness, or he's just scared to open up to a therapist, I don't know. And really, he is very hard to motivate most of the time, not that he doesn't do anything, but it's hardly ever anything meaningful or something that he truly loves. It's like he's trying to distract himself. But, anyway, thanks for trying to help, it's always comforting :)

Most Helpful Guy

  • Unit1
    Finally! Somebody, who uncovered everything about depressions! All is so accurate and true. Great job! Well done!

    When I was depressed, I felt exact the same as you described. And I had nobody by my side, no professional help, whatsoever. Don't ask me how I managed to survived that. A side-effect during heavy depressions can occur: Amnesia.
    Is this still revelant?
    • Anonymous

      Nothing better than a painful first-hand experience, huh?
      But I know that depression can be different for different people.

    • Dsg1116

      we need to be friends haha. Good for you!

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • sandysmile
    there is a lot of good advice in here, and talking about these things more openly will help take the stigma away from suicide and depression in general
    Like 1 Person
    • Anonymous

      thank you. That's what I hope

  • JenSCDC
    As someone who suffers from bipolar I would add a #4- "When things get very bad, don't be afraid to take control of their life." When I get really, really down, I simply lose the ability to function, and even if I could function, I'd have the cognitive ability of a scrambled egged. If my mother hadn't stepped in on several different occasions I don't think I'd be here writing this.
  • ThatPunkGuy
    i think I'm depressed. i don't like pretty girls because i know they don't like me. i hate smaltalk I'd rather not socialize. fuck i can't even make eye contact with a girl. i don't go to school anymore and i dont have a job. i don't care about myswlf anymore. i think I'm a failure whose just a waste of space on this earth. do i want to die? no. i just don't know why i live. fuck it all.
    • GGazpacho

      I can relate to the first 3 statements. The fourth however seems to be nervousness? The rest i can't help, sorry...

  • apple24
    I didn't read but depression is a horrble thing to got through.
    Like 1 Person
    • Anonymous

      while you're here, why not read it? Takes less than 5 minutes...

    • apple24

      I did it was perfect! I am still depress but I can't afford therapy and got no friend to be close to. I agree this is the answer to my 6long year depression.

    • Anonymous

      I'm so sorry. Does your uni offer free counseling? Or your health insurance covers the costs maybe?

    • Show All
  • YourFutureEx
    Very good take. How to take on suicidal people online?
    • Anonymous

      That would be much harder to do. Because the more time they spend with you online, the less time she has to spend with actual, real people near her. All you can do is advice them to get help, and listen to them with understanding when they tell you their feelings. And encourage them to mingle among people.

    • Hmm.. I talked to several suicidal people here and managed to make them happy about their life.
      I don't know why but after reading your take I'm afraid a bit now.

    • Anonymous

      I have suicidal wishes myself and I am constantly talking to another GAGer, everyday, every time of day. He tried to make me see that there's no sense in killing myself, because it would only eliminate the possibility of things getting better. But I don't see things getting better soon, how long am I supposed to live with the pain? And I don't see any purpose in my life anymore, so why should I keep taking up space and fighting for something that's not worth fighting for?

      I'm afraid there isn't much an online person can do to immediately help a depressed and/or suicidal person... All you can do is encourage them to get immediate help in their immediate area.

    • Show All
  • RainbowFanGirl
    Great take. I'm actually kind of depressed right now. I'm trying to go through therapy but it's kind of hard.
    • Anonymous

      Thank you.
      Why is it hard?
      Don't hesitate to tell people you know love you, like your parents and siblings. And ask them for help.

    • I don't like opening up to people. And I will today. Thank you.

    • Anonymous

      I understand that opening up to people is hard. For me too because it makes me seem weak. I don't want to appear weak. But often it's really the best to be honest to people you trust and who you know loves you and only want the best for you.

    • Show All
  • chrisbigman
    Sometimes I wonder if I have depressed. I've felt down for quite a while. I hardly socialize, mainly because I work 3rd shift.
    • Anonymous

      I realised I have depression when I can stay home everyday, doing nothing, only getting out of the house to get groceries. And that for weeks or maybe even months. I had absolutely no reason to wake up, I slept a lot, even at home I did nothing, not even clean my place.

    • Anonymous

      I wasn't even motivated to reply to messages from my friends and family.

    • Same here, although have a job that I go to. I reply to my family and friends but rather seldomly.

  • Hannah591
    I'm glad you wrote this.
    • Anonymous

      thanks! Hope it can be helpful to some people

  • zell0is0my0name
    No one can understand me unless they were me.
  • phanindra554
    Nice take
    Good job :-)
    • Anonymous

      Thank you!

  • Anonymous
    Like 1 Person
  • Anonymous
    My sister told me I need counceling... I didn't appreciate that! Because it was like she was tell me something was wrong with me. I don't think I'm a depressed person. Counceling isn't going to help. Sometimes I just need a shoulder to cry on. And someone to listen.
  • Anonymous
    I went through this I went onto a dating app called meet24 when I was 14 I would post what's going on in my life and that I cut myself take pills and drink vodka until I couldn't feel myself anymore I met an older man on there that talked to me every day about things tried to talk me into going back to school made me a schedule of when I can cut and we did it less and less to where I've not cut myself in almost 4 months now I'm back in school full time I left notes for my bf saying goodbye when I couldn't handle myself he always knew where to find me and called 911 now I'm so glad I didn't die but when I was going through everything it felt like the only thing to do to end my pain. I love this take well done very helpful 😊
    • Anonymous

      Thank you.
      And I'm glad you're doing better.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you

    • JaysunPro

      Congratulations, i wonder if you left your boyfriend cutting himself now. now your not cutting school or yourself and subjecting yourself to pain.

    • Show All