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How do you instill hope into someone who has depression and thinks they can't get better?

21 Answers
Last Updated: 03/30/2020 at 2:29am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Sarah Robb, LISW-S (Licensed Independent Social Worker, Supervisor Designation) and LICDC (Licenced Chemical Dependency Counselor)

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. Life poses many challenges. Learning to face, cope with, and resolve these challenges can increase our resilience.

Top Rated Answers
May 2nd, 2015 6:25pm
If I thought I was a purple balloon, does that make me a purple balloon? Have you ever had a friend who was just gorgeous, but they truly believed they were ugly? You can think something, you can know something, you can believe something sooooo much – but that still doesn't make it true. Many, many people have beaten their depression. Even after years and years. Even when it was severe. A big part of depression is that it lies to you. It filters all the information you receive and makes it look the worst. But it isn't real. It FEELS real, I know. But it's not and one day you can be okay. Even if it takes a long time. It's amazing.
March 12th, 2015 3:02am
I found this video to be very helpful when I was depressed.
April 1st, 2015 9:45pm
Well you can't guarantee that anyone with depression will get better. But what you can say is that for many people, they do pull themselves out of it even though they used to feel it would never happen. In short, we humans like to think we're good at predicting the future, but in reality we're poor at it.
May 9th, 2015 10:55pm
You can do little chores around the house, like help them get their house clean and cook something for them when they don't feel they can do it. Or go for a short walk if they feel able to do that. Simply be there is the best thing you can to.
July 16th, 2018 11:23am
By being there for them and just supporting them, most times all people who suffer with depression need is to know they have at least one person that will always be there, everyone with depression can get better if they allow to be helped, like going to the doctors or talking to a therapist or just someone they trust, talking to someone knowing that they can be trusted can normally let the person suffering know that they are cared about and that there is hope if not now, some point in the future.
March 4th, 2015 5:47pm
You can't wire a persons brain a different way and what I mean by that is, you can't change a person with your words or actions, it has to be themselves doing and wanting it themselves. But you can be there to support them, and that is crucial to overcome depression. If that one person isn't willing to change the way he/she thinks, then I think it would be better to seek professional help.
May 20th, 2015 9:51pm
Try to convince them that hope is still out there but it doesn't always show itself. I can be in the smallest of things and those small things can change your life forever. I can also add in my own experiences considering I had, and still do, have depression and just give them overall advice on the mistakes I've made and how I got through or overcame them.
August 10th, 2015 3:17am
The best thing you can do is make sure they know that you are there for them and care for them. This will show them that their life means something to someone.
Anonymous - Expert in Depression
September 22nd, 2015 3:54am
Show them proof - show them people who have been in their situation and have got better, show them the success stories, show them areas in their own lives where they have succeeded and got better. There will never be a point in life where everything will be okay. Life will get better and will get worse, but that's how life works. You live for the good, the bad and the amazing. That's what life is all about. If there was no bad, what value does the good hold?
November 2nd, 2015 4:08pm
You need to remind them of the things they are good at and how important there purpose is into everyones lives.
November 9th, 2015 10:16pm
By enabling empowerment for them to see what strengths they have you will be opening them up pathways to which they can walk through for their healing.
December 29th, 2015 1:39am
one way is by constantly reassuring them that you are there for them and that everything is going to be okay. Don't treat them differently just because they're depressed, instead treat them as you would any other day.
March 15th, 2016 4:08am
Show them that it is possible to get better. Tell them how they've improved already. Show your support for them - tell them that you believe that they can overcome depression.
June 14th, 2016 6:57pm
You can't. It takes time and they first will want to get bettr as time goes by they will start to fel better but only if they have posotive people around them you can point out good thins in life and let them know everyone can get better but dont pantronize them
November 2nd, 2016 12:06am
Agree and sympathize with them that what they're facing right now is tough and even if there is no guarantee everything will be ok and things will get better that you can promise that life has it's ups and downs and that they need to focus on the little things that make them smile even through these hard times. Let them know how confident you are in them that they will see an improvement in their mental health if they focus on the good.
November 7th, 2016 1:28am
Give them a hug and make sure they know they're not alone. Just hold them tight and promise them everything will be okay.
January 24th, 2017 2:14pm
I think it helps to not try to be that person's savior. I understand the temptation as a friend or loved one to want to soothe or mitigate their suffering as they get their depression under management, but similar to this website, it's important to offer support and not solutions. In this way, hope seems to come from the sense that someone else understands their situation and perspective. It feels validated and real as opposed to something that others might accuse them of making up or exaggerating. Knowing that they have someone who sees their difficulty gives the sense that they aren't alone, which helps in its own way.
May 2nd, 2017 7:02pm
You could try showing them stories of other people who felt the exact same way, but did get better, sometimes that helps. You could also show support for them, that you're going to be there for them whether they get better or not.
April 10th, 2018 11:28pm
I know it sounds impossible, but you need to keep reaching out for help and trying different things to get better. Something will work. It might be something big, it might be something strange, but something will work.
April 22nd, 2019 6:24am
Let your friend know that you are there for them, and that you care for them. Sometimes, people just need to know that they have someone there to help them. Hopelessness can come from a feeling of loneliness. Help them figure out coping skills they could use when they are feeling down. Try to help them become more active and encourage them to get professional help if they feel it is necessary. Do not pressure them to do anything they are not comfortable with/share anything they are not comfortable with. Be patient with them and remind them that everything will be okay.
March 30th, 2020 2:29am
By being available with my time and unconditional love. No judgment or fear in anything that's revealed or said to frighten or shock you. The support needs to know that well being is not only a possibility, it's the only acceptable outcome. Everything takes time. By maintaining a light-hearted attitude yourself, it takes some of the heavy concern and tension out of the experience as there is much to be in motion for change and dense concerns introduce resistance where extra resistance is not helpful. Be social and demonstrating what joy feels like is really helpful. Play a bit, joke wherever possible and show the way. As I said, I had time to be fully immersed and give my love and carefreely. Support, appreciation of enjoyable activities and a socially uplifting environment is valuable to share with them.