Taking it step by step

The first conversation is a big step, but you don’t have to talk about everything in one go. There is no instant solution to someone’s journey with depression; it takes time, patience, and ongoing conversations to start the healing process and help someone find the support they need. It is important to be gentle yet persistent and avoid putting too much pressure on one conversation.

Try not to put too much pressure on one conversation

It may help to remember the following:

It’s up to you to decide what you share with whom and when

You can be as direct and open as you want, for example, ‘I’m having a tough time, I think I may have depression’ or ‘I’ve been feeling stressed and I could use some help.’

It’s okay to take a step back from conversations if you feel overwhelmed

After one conversation you may feel like a weight has been lifted, but don’t panic if you don’t feel better after talking to the person – it’s normal to experience ups and downs

Don’t be afraid of saying that you need the conversation to slow down

Set boundaries that acknowledge the conversation is confidential and the discussion will not be taken out of context

Patience and perseverance are important

Whilst it is difficult, it is important to:

Be patient – understand that your loved one will share things with you as and when they are ready. Whilst the first conversation is a great first step, experiences are still theirs to share and probing or pushing too far can be detrimental to building a relationship of trust

Acknowledge that the conversation is an important and difficult first step

Persevere – progress can go forwards but also backwards. It’s important that your loved one knows you’re in it for the long run

Keep checking in with them and encouraging them to share their feelings, it is important to keep the conversation going

Avoid pushing the person to talk more than they want to

Set boundaries acknowledging the conversation is confidential and that it will not be taken out of context