With an estimated number of over 300 million people affected with it worldwide, Depression is a common illness.

The World Health Organization has declared this mental illness as the world’s leading cause of disability. 

Even though there are constructive treatments available for mental illnesses, around 76%- 85% of people belonging to the low and middle-income nations get no treatment for their illness. When left unnoticed and untreated, depression can lead to loss of life. WHO stated that nearly 800,000 people die by suicide every year. In fact, suicide has been found to be the second-highest cause of death amongst 15- 29-year-olds. But unfortunately, and even with such alarming statistics, the stigma surrounding mental disorders still exists. 

WHO recently shared that women are twice more likely than men to have encountered a depressive chapter in their lives. Their research also found that lesser than 50% of people battling depression receive treatment.  
What’s more, is that it has been predicted that 15% of the world’s adult population will at some stage in their lives be suffering from depression. 

We need to begin normalizing the talk about Depression and other mental illnesses. With such strong statistics present, there’s a high chance that you may know of a friend/ family/ colleague who is suffering from it. And while you may not be a professional help-giver, you still can provide comfort and support to someone affected by depression.

What to say to someone who is battling a mental illness?

If you know someone who is going through mental illness and you’re unsure about what to tell them, here are a few ways of supporting them and letting them know that you care for them.

  • That sounds like it’s really hard. How are you coping?

  • I may not understand exactly how you feel, but you’re not alone.

  • You’re dear to me.

  • We’ll get through this together. 

  • How are you holding up? 

  • I’m really sorry you’re going through this. I’m here for you if you need me.

  • How are you feeling today? 

  • Do you want to talk about it with me?

  • Do you want a hug?

  • When all this is over, I’ll still be here and so will you.

  • I can’t completely understand what you’re going through but I’m here for you. 

Lastly, just as how you wouldn’t neglect a sneeze or a fever, it’s time we addressed our mental conditions with that much promptness. It’s time we looked after our emotional health. If you notice that someone isn't feeling like their usual self, or are constantly lethargic, anxious, sleepless, tired, uninterested; then share your concerns with them. Help them to seek medical intervention. Your willingness could help someone, and may even save someone’s life.