Talking to someone

It is much easier for depression to take over when you are isolated and out of touch with others. Telling someone how you are feeling is a vital first step in breaking this isolation, so that you can build a network of support.

How does talking to someone help?

It can be hard to open up and be honest about how you are really feeling. You may be used to putting on a ‘front’ with others and pretending you are fine. However, this leaves you feeling isolated and alone, which makes things worse. These are some of the ways that talking to someone can make a difference:

Unburdening yourself
It can be a great relief to get things off your chest. For some people it helps a lot if they know things will be kept confidential (eg. talking to a professional).

Getting perspective
Voicing thoughts or fears is very useful in making sense of them and putting them into perspective.

Easing isolation
Dropping the mask, being honest and connecting with someone else on a real level helps to counter the isolating effect of depression.

Care and compassion
If you choose well who to talk to, you are much more likely to be offered care and compassion than the rejection or ridicule you may fear.

Useful advice
Depending on who you talk to, you may get some useful help or advice in return – and even if some of it isn’t useful, remember you don’t have to take it!

Strategies and ways forward
Talking and openness shines a bright light onto depression’s distortions and lies. As you talk, you start to develop understanding and strategies for tackling depression.

Support network
Different people offer different kinds of support, so talking to different people can help build up a useful support network.

Go for it!

It doesn’t really matter who you talk to first. Some ideas would include:  a friend, family member, anonymous listening service like Nightline or the Samaritans, student union welfare rep, personal tutor, students support services staff member, counsellor, or doctor. Decide who is the best person for you to talk to first. Be realistic about what each person can offer. If it doesn’t work out, try someone else. Talk to more than one person.

Even if you don’t talk about how you are feeling, being with others can be an important way to break isolation.

If you are moderately to severely affected by depression, and especially if you feel you are at risk of harming yourself in any way, then the most important first step is to talk to someone who is best placed to help you – a doctor or counsellor. See the ‘Counsellors & doctors’ section for more about how these professionals can help.

Help them to help you

If you are concerned that you might worry or overburden people print off or show them the ‘Worried about someone?’ page which advises about how best to support someone with depression. It can also give you a realistic idea of what kinds of help you can expect from non-professionals.

Next: Worried about someone?

Take Action

Support network planner


Breaking isolation
How does counselling help?
Connecting with others