When your partner is dealing with depression, you want to be as supportive and loving as possible. But it’s hard to know what to say or how to help, especially if you’ve never experienced depression firsthand.
Starting a conversation with your significant other is critical, but sometimes offering the wrong words ― while well-intentioned ― can do more harm than good. We asked experts to tell us some of the most damaging phrases people with depression hear from their loved ones and what more compassionate things you can say instead.
Don’t say: “You need to get help.”
Instead say: “I’m worried about you and us. I love you and want to support you. How can I help?”
“Ask your partner, ‘Do you want me to look into a therapist for you, or a couples counselor for us together? Or I can make an appointment for you to talk to your doctor about medication?’ This way it’s a team approach, not blaming one person. And if he or she is depressed, you finding a therapist or making an appointment for them may make it seem less daunting or exhausting. Tell him or her, ‘We’ll get through this together. It will get better.’” ― Shannon Kolakowski, psychologist and author of When Depression Hurts Your Relationship