If a member of your family or a friend is experiencing depression, here are some of the most important do’s and don’ts:

Do’s

Be aware of your own feelings of frustration and disappointment because your friend or family member is depressed.

Recognize that you may have to take increased responsibility for maintaining the relationship (initiate telephone calls, visits, etc.).

Encourage your friend or family member to stay with the treatment program including taking medication, attending therapy sessions, exercising and eating properly, avoiding alcohol and other mood altering substances.

Present a positive attitude about the future: there is a high probability of full recovery.

Be willing to be a spokesperson for your depressed friend or family member by helping prepare questions for the doctor and accompanying him or her to the doctor’s appointment.

Don’ts

Don’t avoid discussions about how ill the depressed person is feeling, what is or isn’t working,  or treatment.

Don’t expect a quick recovery.

Don’t assume that the depressed person is helpless, powerless, or childlike, and needing everything done for him or her.

Don’t criticize or blame the person for having depressive symptoms such as low energy, negative thinking, poor sleeping patterns, or decreased patience.

Don’t forget all the things that you have liked and valued about your friend or family member.