DepressionSupporting friends with depression is possible even if you're far away!

When a person is suffering from depression or a similar mental illness, their friends and loved ones are an invaluable support system. The importance of the comfort, advice, and encouragement that friends can provide to someone who’s struggling with their mental health cannot be overstated. If you have a friend with depression who lives far away, you might feel at a loss for ways to help them. You want to lift them up and be a part of their support system, but how can you help them when you’re not close by? Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to help and support a struggling friend, even from a long distance. Here’s how!

Learn About Depression

For a person with depression, explaining their condition over and over can be exhausting and disheartening, especially when some people misunderstand or don’t take them seriously. One of the most helpful and thoughtful things that you can do for a friend is to take on the task of learning about depression for yourself. Do research, read books, watch videos, whatever works best for you, but come to the table already knowing how depression can affect a person. It will help you to be more understanding, and it will make it easier for you to identify ways that you can support your friend!

Encourage Treatment

Seeking out treatment like therapy or medication for depression is a big step, and it’s a hard one for a lot of people to take. Treatment can make a huge difference in a person’s quality of life, and if you think your friend would be receptive to hearing about it, it’s a good idea to gently encourage them to talk to someone about what they’ve been feeling and try to find ways to feel better. You can talk about things you’ve heard or read about treatment being helpful, or if you’ve been to therapy or taken antidepressants yourself, you can give an honest account of what that was like and the ways that it helped you. If your friend is seeking treatment, congratulate them on taking charge of their mental health and encourage them to stick with it through the tough moments!

Be Patient

Depression is a condition that affects all aspects of a person’s life, and their interpersonal relationships are one of them. This disorder can make you tired, sad, irritable, confused, and can even lead to memory problems or feelings of physical illness. Therefore, it might happen on occasion that your friend is snappy or short with you when you didn’t deserve it, misses phone calls or plans, or forgets important events. Within reason, try to handle these occurrences with patience and understanding. Depression makes it hard to be a good friend sometimes! If you can forgive the occasional misstep and allow them to try again, they’ll be grateful for the chance to keep you as a friend in spite of their struggles.

Just Listen

One of the most important ways that you can support a friend with depression, whether or not you live physically close to them, is just to be a presence in their life that they can turn to when they need a shoulder to cry on. Maintain communication via text, phone calls, or any other way you two like to talk. Offer yourself as a listening ear when you have the time and capacity to do so. Just talking about their struggles to a compassionate friend can be incredibly helpful for the person you love, and you don’t have to be nearby in order for them to do so!


Having a loved one with depression can be hard, but with understanding and a little forethought, you can offer some much-needed support to a struggling person in your life! If you’re interested in reading up on depression and what it’s like, you can continue learning on our website here.