7 Ways to Encourage a Friend Struggling With Depression

How to Encourage a Friend Struggling with Depression

I shared a long while ago 5 different things NOT to say to those that are struggling with depression. Today, I want to share some suggestions for giving encouragement to those that are struggling!

So many times when our friends are hurting, we feel at a loss, we don’t know what to say or what to do. This goes for grieving friends, struggling friends, chronically sick friends…anyone who is hurting.

These are things that have encouraged me over the years, but just know that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to encourage someone in the midst of trials. The important thing is the you love them and you try and you keep on being there for her. Don’t have expectations that your encouragement is going to heal this person or miraculously turn their lives around. Just do something to show you care and let that be the reason you do it.

How to Encourage a Friend Struggling with Depression

1. Remember that there is no one way to deal with depression {or grief, or sickness, or loss. If you have a hurting friend, and you reach out without much response, don’t give up. Don’t quit calling. Don’t quit texting. Keep trying. Know that often the hurting friend doesn’t know how to respond either.

2. When you don’t know what to say, don’t be silent. I totally get this one, as an introvert, I often feel like I don’t have the words to say or have no idea how to be an encouragement to someone that is hurting. Send a notecard in the mail with a favorite Bible verses or quote on it. Handwritten notes mean a lot to people. Let’s bring back the handwritten notes! Or send a text saying you’re thinking of them, praying for them, etc.

3. Offer to do mundane/everyday things for your friend. Show up at your friend’s house with dinner. Offer to go over to her house, sit and have coffee at the kitchen table and fold laundry while you chat. Household things completely overwhelmed me when I was in my darkest moments. Not only did they overwhelm me, but then I felt like a failure because I couldn’t keep up with my housework. Text your friend, tell her you’re going to the grocery store and could pick up something if needed. She may turn you down, but eventually she may let you in and tell you what she needs from walmart.

4. Offer to take her children to the park or to your house or to a movie. Another thing I really struggled with and then felt a lot of guilt over was the fact that I couldn’t always pull myself together to do fun things with my kids. It made me feel so much better when Nana or a sister-in-law would take the kids for the afternoon. I knew my kids were having a good time and being well taken care of. This brought me peace of mind.

5. Stick a few meals in your friend’s freezer. Cooking a meal felt like a huge task to me many days. Having something I could pull out and just stick in the oven was SUCH a huge blessing!

6. When you say you will pray for her, pray. You can pray WITH her, but please keep praying FOR her as well. Prayer is not a last resort, it should be what we do all the time regardless. Pray some of these verses for her and with her.

7. Send a note and small gift in the mail. While gifts certainly aren’t everyone’s love language, they do go a long way to show someone you care! This devotional with 40 verses about waiting on the Lord is written just for these kind of times. Send a pretty mug to go with it. Print and frame a lovely Bible verse for her.

What would you add to this list? How have your friends blessed you in times of trial? OR how have you ministered to hurting friends in the past? 

More Encouragement

Author: Candace Crabtree

I'm just a messed up mama in need of God's fresh new mercies daily. My husband and I live in beautiful East Tennessee with our 3 children. God has taken me on a journey through the valley of depression and is teaching me to pray the Scriptures as a result. I hope and pray that you will be encouraged whenever you stop by this little place on the web.

2 thoughts on “7 Ways to Encourage a Friend Struggling With Depression”

    1. Diana, this is so true! Encouragement for ANY type of struggle or loss or grief is much needed. Even thought I’ve had dark seasons of my own, I still don’t always know the best way to encourage. So I need to be reminded of these myself. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *