How Can I Help My Depressed Friend?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. My friend is depressed, how can I help her? My friend has been a bit depressed since I know her, but lately it’s become worse. She’s convinced that she is dumb, ugly, fat, she has no talent etc. She says she wants to die more and more frequently – and I’m starting to really worry about her. I think that one of the main issues is that she has no boyfriend. There’s the one “prince charming” she’s been in love with for two years, but she does nothing about it. He probably doesn’t even know that she’s attracted to him. I told her to do something many times, but she’s afraid. She thinks that nobody will ever love her. I know that she has some scars on her body and she thinks that’s one more thing that makes her unlovable. She’s convinced that she has no real friends, and the world would be better without her.

I’m worried about her and want to help, but anytime I want to persuade her anything she gets angry or even more sad. I can’t just listen and agree when she says she’s hopeless. I suggested that to go to psychologist, but she’ll never do it. What can I do?

A. It is good that you care about your friend. It is difficult to watch someone you care about live in misery. You have tried to help her and she rejects your suggestions. Unfortunately, there may be little else you can do for her. You cannot force her into treatment.

What maybe you have not tried is talking to her parents or another concerned adult caretaker. You have already done all that you can do to help her but she’s unwilling to take your good advice. If you continue to be worried about her, let her parents know. You could write her parents an anonymous note or even ask the school counselor to talk to her parents for you. She might be upset at you for making her depression known to her parents but at least you’ll know you she’ll likely have a better chance at getting help.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 May 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). How Can I Help My Depressed Friend?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/05/26/how-can-i-help-my-depressed-friend/