So, you know someone who is in the grips of depression and you are wondering what you can or should do. Here are a few suggestions.

1. Do not shame or guilt them. This is the worse thing you can do. Often that will drive them deeper into their depression. Shame and guilt are not the methods God uses to life us when we are in despair. In fact they are the method we use when we are frustrated at the one who is struggling.

2. Be patient and let it run its course. Most depression is like a virus. It comes, runs its course, and goes. Often the person just need TLC and rest.

3. Listen! Listen! Listen! Let them talk without trying to even reply. Just let them release the pain they are bottling up inside. Listen to hear them not always to reply to them. When they talk, show genuine interest in what they are saying.

4. Use encouraging words. Say things like, I’m here for you, I care about you and want to help, You are important to me. Your life is important to others, Tell me if there is anything I can do to help you, or This will eventually pass.

5. Don’t tell them why you think they are depressed and don’t preach to them. You don’t know why and they will recoil at your opinions and homemade diagnosis.

6. Stay positive and upbeat. Don’t let their depression get you down. Do not be ridiculous in your positiveness, but be upbeat in a sober manner. Don’t be silly, but be joyful.

7. Make certain they are not alone. Many times they want to be alone, but it is not the best thing, especially if they indicate any thoughts of suicide or hurting themselves. Be willing to stay with them if they need you to. A true friend is a great medicine for depression.

8. Offer to do something with them. Getting them out of the house and active will often be a good aid for bringing them back from their depression. Seclusion and reclusion are often what a person in this condition seeks, but it can be dangerous to them and prolong their condition.

9. Get them involved in acts of service. Often the feeling of depression is accompanied by feelings of worthlessness. Getting them involved in helping others is a great way to make them feel important.

10. Pray for and with them, but especially for them. Never underestimate the power of prayer in the healing of depression.

By no means is this list complete, but I think it can serve as a good guideline of how we can help our depressed brothers and sisters in Christ. Next time I will discuss what you should do when depression strikes you.

by Christian Penn

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Wonderful article, however…as someone with chronic, clinical depression, telling someone that, “This will eventually pass”, is NOT helpful. I’ve had ongoing depression since i was a pre-teen and i am now 58. Now if the cause of depression is situational (loss of a job, moving away from a much-loved area, for example) that would be a normal thing to think, but even then, i don’t think it would necessarily be helpful to SAY. But for those of us with deep-seated, ongoing depression, it is NOT something that passes. We have to learn how to swim against the currents of depression, how to not give in to suicide (I also have tried more than once), and how to trust in God even when we feel we’ve been abandoned. But empty platitudes will not help.

  2. This is excellent advice. I am a saved man who recently went through a bad bout of depression due to an unwanted divorce after 11 years of marriage. I was shamed and guilted after attempting suicide, and then pressured to “hurry up and get over it,” because “God commands us to rejoice in Him.” I was left alone and expected to heal all on my own, because people “just didn’t know what to do.” After 2 years, my heart is finally beginning to heal, and I am mentally and spiritually healthy again, though I hope this advice helps others to help people suffering depression.

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