Family & Friends

Family and friends can be an important source of help if you are depressed. Recovery is quicker for people who feel supported by those around them. [1]

If you are a family member or friend of someone who is depressed you can help by:

  • Listening to the person with depression without judging or being critical.
  • Encouraging and helping them to get appropriate professional help.
  • Checking if they are feeling suicidal and taking immediate action if they are.

What to do to help a suicidal person?

  • Suicidal feelings are a medical emergency. Take them as seriously as you would symptoms of a heart attack!
  • Don't leave the person alone. Most people who commit suicide do it when they are alone.
  • Seek immediate help. Take the person to hospital, phone Emergency 000, or take the person to see a GP.
  • Try to ensure the person does not have access to a method of taking their life.
  • If the person is consuming alcohol or drugs, try to stop them taking any more.
  • Talk to the person until help arrives.

Key references

[1] Souery D, Blairy S & Mendlewicz J. Aetiology: Genetic and social aetiology of mood disorders. In: Gelder MG, Lopez-Ibor JJ & Andreasen N (eds). New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry. Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2001. (p. 705)