We might not like to admit it, but we’re not all that great at talking about mental health. Saying the right thing at the right time can feel impossible – after all, you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or make them feel worse.
So to help you out, here’s our guide of things you can say to your friend that will cure their mental illness right there on the spot.
1. “It’s all in your head”
Fun fact about mental illness – and sorry to get technical here – it primarily affects the brain, which very few people know is actually located in the head.
Letting your friend know that you have such a solid background in neuropsychology will be a great comfort to them as they attempt to deal with the exhausting physical and mental side effects of depression with little to no support.
2. “It could be worse!”
A good thing to do when someone is going through a really tough time in their life: remind them that other people are also experiencing really horrible things! Reminding your depressed friend that life is a constant cycle of pain and relief, pain and relief, and that therefore someone, somewhere is always suffering or experiencing hardship is sure to get them smiling again!
3. “It’ll all be OK in the end”
You know what – it’s a good thing you mentioned this, mate. It’s a good thing you told your depressed friend, who is very depressed on account of their clinical depression, that things are actually going to be OK. Before you said that they had all sorts of problems – they can’t function day to day and they no longer enjoy anything and they feel garbage all the time. They ache randomly! They either can’t sleep at all or are sleeping 18 hours a day! They struggle to get in the shower! So it’s a good thing that you turned up and told them that, actually, they’re going to be fine.
Now you mention it – no need for practical solution or any kind of further help – they… yep, they’re totally fine now, cheers.
4. “Have you tried [yoga/running/buying a Nutribullet/some kind of tea that inevitably costs like £6.50 for a box of ten/veganism]?”
It doesn’t matter what it is you recommend to your friend – it’s enough to just make them feel as if they’d be less depressed if only they tried hard enough! Yeah, yeah, so they can’t get out of bed right now, but if only they did a few downward facing dogs that’d clear right up. Been signed off sick from work because you’re too anxious to come in? Nothing that a good superfood smoothie can’t solve! God bless chia, my friends. God bless chia.
5. “Everyone gets sad sometimes!”
When you’re depressed you often feel like you’re worthless – like there’s something innately wrong with you that renders you completely unable to cope. Want someone to be less depressed? You gotta take advantage of that unshakeable feeling of wrongness and dread, my friend!
Why not tell them about a time when, unaffected by a chronic mental illness, you were a little bit sad – they’re sure to snap out of it soon!
(For some rather more helpful advice: 5 things you can do to help a friend with anxiety or depression)