Press "Enter" to skip to content

How to help someone with depression

16.2 million adults have at least one major depressive episode in a given year.

Healthline.com in June 2018 reported that persistent depressive disorder often results in deep sadness, hopelessness, low energy and indecision, and it occurs in approximately 1.5 percent of adults annually. And while more women than men suffer from at least mild depression, healthline.com estimates 16.2 million adults have at least one major depressive episode in a given year.

Other forms of depression, such as seasonal and postpartum, are prevalent as well, but many people suffer from low moods particularly during the holidays, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s.

Often, family members, co-workers and friends have no idea how to help someone in a depressive state. For these people, Dr. K. Luan Phan, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, came up with the acronym LALALA:
‒ Listen: “The first important step is to simply listen. Listening encourages the person to open up more, so that they’ll tell you about signs of depression and desperation. A major cause of suicide is depression.”
‒ Ask: “Encourage more conversation by asking more, and that further shows that you care enough to know more about their struggles and depression. Asking about the possibility of suicide may save the person’s life.”
‒ Love: “Listening and asking shows that you care. Listening with compassion and empathy and without dismissing or judging reflects love. That feeling of being loved may help someone reach out for help.”
‒ Act: “Keep the person safe. Stay with the person until the crisis passes or they’re connected to resources that can help them.”
‒ Link: “Connect the person with other people who can provide support and mental health treatment, which decreases depression and reduces suicide.”
‒ Advocate: “Get informed and get involved. Start conversations to reduce the stigma.”



With the weather turning colder in many parts of the country, and with fewer daylight hours, seasonal depression increases. Exercise is key to combating feelings of lethargy and apathy. Yet, healthline.com also recommends for depression sufferers supplements — such as vitamin D — light therapy, psychotherapy or medications, if necessary. Talk to a general practictioner or therapist before taking medications or supplements, to learn about interactions with current medication or whether they are even needed.