9 phrases to say to someone who is depressed, according to psychology

Feeling depressed sucks. 

It’s not just about being sad. Depression is a deep-seated emotion that can make someone feel worthless and unloved. 

Seeing someone you actually care about feel this way sucks, too. 

And it’s not always easy figuring out how you can help. 

Depressed people rarely want to talk about what they’re going through. Sometimes, they also just don’t know how. 

Being there for them, regardless, can make a huge difference. 

According to psychology, specific phrases can help someone battling with depression feel less alone. 

And sometimes, this is the most important thing.

So, if you want to help someone who seems depressed, you can say this to them:

1) “I know I can’t fully understand what you’re going through, but I’m here for you.”

Depression can feel overwhelming and isolating. People who are depressed also tend to feel misunderstood. 

It’s important to let someone going through it know they’re not alone and that you care about them, even if you can’t relate to their struggle. 

When someone’s depressed, you need to reach out whether they’re ready to talk about their feelings or not. 

Telling them you’re there for them—in person or through text—can make a huge difference. 

This gentle reminder can help them know they don’t have to carry their burden alone. 

It’s powerful because you’re not trying to fix them or belittle their feelings by pretending to know all the answers. 

Instead, you offer something incredibly valuable – your presence and support. 

And this can mean a lot to someone who feels disconnected from the world around them.

2) “It’s okay to feel the way you do.”

Hearing this phrase when going through rough times can help someone feel understood.

When someone’s struggling, they often beat themselves up for not being happier or more together, which just makes them feel worse. 

By telling them their feelings are valid, you’re saying it’s normal and okay to feel whatever they’re feeling. 

This can be a big relief. 

Validating feelings can also be the first step in the healing process. 

It creates a safe space for the depressed person to express themselves and start working through their emotions rather than bottling them up

Hearing this phrase can help them not feel so rushed to just “get over it,” which is really important. 

Rushing to feel better never works and can lead to ignoring the root issues that need attention.

People battling with depression typically feel like their emotions are silly. This makes them hide or change how they feel to be accepted. 

Accepting them with their negative emotions can be a powerful way to help them move away from it. 

3) “Take your time.”

Using this phrase is another way to make someone know they don’t have to rush through their feelings. 

For someone who feels depressed, this can be incredibly supportive. 

The thing is, when someone experiences negative emotions they usually think they need to quickly fix how they’re feeling. 

You know – just bounce back from setbacks.

But healing and processing emotions don’t work that way. 

So, by telling someone to take their time, you’re letting them know you understand everyone’s healing is unique.

And it’s okay not to have it all figured out right away. 

This can take a lot of stress and anxiety off their shoulders since they probably think they have to be at a certain emotional stage at a particular time. 

It kinda gives them permission to experience their feelings fully and work through them at their own pace.

This patient approach really shows you understand that recovery cannot be hurried. 

So whoever you’re saying this phrase to will know you’re there for them without pushing them to move faster than they’re ready to. 

4) “I’m really proud of you for facing this.”

This phrase does something really special:

It acknowledges someone’s courage and effort in dealing with their challenges. 

Think this is small or silly?

I promise it isn’t. 

Facing problems, especially emotional or mental health issues, requires a lot of bravery. 

It’s not easy to confront what’s troubling you, and doing so often goes unrecognized.

What you’ll do with this statement is highlight someone’s strength and resilience. 

Instead of only focusing on the problem or the need to overcome it, you’re celebrating someone’s willingness to address it. 

This recognition can be so validating.

Not only can it boost the depressed person’s self-esteem, but it can also motivate them to keep going. 

Knowing someone notices and appreciates your courage can make all the difference. 

When someone feels nothing, being reminded that they’re strong and capable can shift their narrative from suffering to resilience. 

5) “How can I be here for you?”

This phrase is a golden move. 

Why, you ask?

Well, it gives the person you’re saying it to control over what form of support they receive. 

And this can be incredibly comforting when someone feels overwhelmed or powerless. 

It also shows them you’re willing to help in whichever way they really need it

People usually hesitate to ask for help because they don’t want to be a burden to someone who doesn’t understand what they need. 

By asking this question, you’re opening a door for them to communicate their needs openly and without judgment.

According to psychology, it can help them feel safe and create trust. 

It also encourages them to ask for help whenever they need it. 

In short, this phrase is like offering a personalized toolkit. 

Not only can it empower a depressed person to choose the tools that fit their needs best, but it also ensures they receive support that’s genuinely helpful. 

6) “Let me help you get through this.” 

Similarly, this phrase can tell someone they’re not alone in their struggle and that you’re willing to actively be part of their journey in overcooking what they’re facing. 

What makes this phrase incredibly impactful is the straightforward offer of support. 

This can significantly reduce any feelings of isolation someone might experience during tough times. 

The best part?

This kind of support can boost someone’s resilience. 

Knowing they have backup can help them tap into strengths they might not realize they have or felt too exhausted to use. 

It also reminds the depressed person that you’re willing to share their burden. And this can make their path forward feel less intimidating. 

7) “You matter to me.” 

When someone hears this while they’re going through the worst, they might feel seen, valued and a little loved. 

Truth is, depressed people usually feel unimportant or believe their problems are a burden. 

Hearing they matter can cut through these feelings of isolation and self-doubt and create a deep sense of belonging.

From a psychological perspective, feeling valued by others is crucial for our self-esteem and overall mental health. 

This doesn’t mean your self-worth should depend on what other people think of you.

But when someone feels depressed, knowing they’re important to you could fight these feelings. 

8) “Do you want to go for a walk?”

Going for a walk sounds simple, but it does more than you might think.

Firstly, it gets someone to move. 

And this is a known way to improve mood and reduce anxiety since it releases endorphins. 

Secondly, it provides a change of scenery. 

This can help distract the depressed person from negative thoughts or their stressful environment. 

Thirdly, a walk is less formal than a sit-down conversation. Which someone can find quite intimidating when they’re feeling vulnerable. 

Walking creates an informal, neutral space for sharing and connecting. 

9) “You don’t have to talk about it right now.”

Depressed people don’t necessarily need someone to talk to. Sometimes, they just want to feel less alone. 

Using this phrase shows you respect their space and won’t force them to talk about things they’re not ready to. 

It’s like saying you understand they might not be ready to share their thoughts and feelings, but you’ll stick around until they feel safe to open up. 

This phrase creates a supportive environment

When someone’s struggling, feelings of helplessness or being overwhelmed are common. 

If you say this to them, they’ll also feel like they have control over when and how they want to talk about their issues. 

It’s a reminder that they can work through their emotions at their own pace, which is crucial for genuine healing and coping. 

It can be hard to understand why someone feels depressed. Especially when it seems like they have a great life or little to complain about. 

And because of this, it’s easy to make them feel rushed to feel better – even unconsciously.

But all this does is delay their healing and make them feel more miserable. 

If you genuinely want to help someone who’s depressed, you shouldn’t try to understand what they’re feeling. 

Just be there for them at their own pace. 

And try to encourage them to seek professional help. With the right support, people can overcome depression and live a full, purposeful life.

Natasha Combrink

Nats is a writer who loves creating content for purposeful brands. She enjoys spending time outdoors, crafting, and diving down rabbit holes. After rediscovering life, she wants to help others live to their full potential. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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