Allow the person to express their thoughts and feelings without telling them what they should or shouldn’t think or feel.
If they could just not be depressed, they would. It’s not as simple as that.
Let them know you care about them and are glad they shared with you.
Ask them what kind of support they’re needing from you. Then let them know what kind of support you’ll be able to provide. It’s okay if you’re limited in what you can do, just let them know what your boundaries are.
You can offer to help them find a mental health professional or a healthcare provider who can help them. You can also help them access a support network where they have a space to share what they’re going through with those who understand.
Make sure to check in with them regularly to see how they’re doing and what support they’re needing.
Offer to help with practical tasks, like helping them with admin tasks, running errands, cooking or cleaning. Helping with these day-to-day tasks can make a big difference for someone who isn’t coping and is feeling overwhelmed.
Encourage them to participate in self-care practices regularly, to manage their mental health.
Some of these activities you could suggest doing together, to increase their motivation and discipline.
You may feel frustrated and helpless, when they stay in a very negative space and don’t take your advice. Try letting these frustrations out elsewhere, before you spend time with them.
Think of how you wouldn’t be frustrated with someone for having a fever when they are sick with the flu.
It can be hard to support someone with depression, so make sure to also take care of yourself and seek your own support too. It can be a very helpful example to the person you’re trying to help.