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Watching a friend go through a rough time is tough. We tend to react by rushing in to help or back away because we are afraid to say the wrong thing. When we think the situation would best be solved by therapy, we sometimes want to jump in with a list of numbers and addresses. Sometimes it is met with a thanks, but when the suggestion is met with rejection, we worry and I often get asked, “How can I make my friend/family member go to therapy.” I reply by saying, “ask that same question and replace therapy with gym and see if it still seems like the best approach”.  Sometime we want people to behave a certain way and when they don’t we get nervous.

Before you approach someone about your concerns ask yourself, “Is this my anxiety generating a problem or am I truly concerned by the behavior I’m witnessing?” Imposing therapy on someone is an extremely difficult task; even court ordered treatment doesn’t always solve the problem. What you can do is create the space needed to continue the conversation with the goal of building insight and awareness and coming to a solution in partnership with the person.

Here are 5 ways to assist a friend or family member suffering from depression, get the help they need and deserve.


This is tough because we all want to be the one to help the people we love. However, some things are just more effective coming from the right person. Does the person you are concerned about have a really open relationship with their family? Is there a mutual friend that just has a really great way of communicating tough topics? Chances are if you are concerned about someone, so are other people so if you have access to members of their family or close friend circles and it feels appropriate, reach out decide who should introduce the topic and the rest of the team can be a support.

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