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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I tell people I have depression?

    I have heard all the facts, but no where says how to explain to friends and family that I have depression. My mum says to just ask to talk to them, but that is NOT easy for me to do! I have a close group of friends and I want to tell them, but it is really hard to just get up and say I have depression. It is causing me a lot of anxiety and worry, I think they should know but I cannot say. I feel like there is someone putting a hand over my mouth every time I go to say something. Any tips will help! Ta.
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  • 1


    My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease ... View Profile

    It is a hard question which I doubt has a “one size fits all” answer.

    The members of my family are aware of my depression and have been very supportive.

    I have many casual friends but only a few (about three) *close* friends. The latter are aware of my depression, partly because my behaviours impinged on them before I was in remission so I figured that they had a “right to know” - again they have offered me heaps of support.

    I see no reason to mention it to my casual friends, mainly because IRL I am intensely private (in MBTI jargon, an INTJ/INTP).

    A question for you which may help to bring these issues into focus (it has no “right” answer):

    What are you hoping for if you were to share your Dx with your family and friends? 

  • 2


    Dianne Zebic

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist

    Dianne Zebic has retired as of 31/01/2015 View Profile

    Well I feel for many people they may feel overwhelmed a little bit to tell their friends that they suffer from depression etc…..

    I sense you may find it difficult to get and tell your friends that you suffer from depression, because you fear that perhaps they may judge you, and then the fear is ‘Will they still want to be my friend’. This may not be the exact case, but this is very common fear amongst many people who avoid telling others.

    For many people it is embarrassing to tell people like their friends about their weaknesses, as we may fear their reactions, and with depression, some people feel like a failure. You may not perhaps think or feel this, but most people may perceive this in this way.

    I think the best way to tell them, is that if you find it a little bit overwhelming to verbally tell them, then perhaps you may consider the following other ways of letting them know:

    1. Send them an email and outline your reasons why you have chosen to communicate online, opposed telling them face to face….
    In your email it could read…..'I am sending you this email to inform you that I have recently been diagnosed with depression, and I am finding by sending this email to you as a close friend, it is easier for my to express my feelings openly and honestly as to what is really going on with me at the moment'. etc………….

    2. Request a trusted family member to contact your closest friends to advise them that you have depression, and for your family member to tell them the reasons why they are calling them instead of yourself. eg they can tell them, that you are going through a very difficult time and that you just needed some support at the moment in breaking the news to your friends.

    3. Or you can send your closest friends a text sms message to their mobile, stating- I just wanted to let you know that recently I am suffering from depression and perhaps we can talk more about it, if you can give me a call when you get a chance.

    4.Use Facebook private chat, go online and if they are online, it;s less confronting to tell them via texting online via private chat inbox. 

    5. Tell them via email, online, etc,,,, when your having a better day than  advising them on your worst day, as this task won't be so daunting

    6, Change your negative thinking to more positive thinking and think about how much your friends may offer you their support etc…. ie if they are real friends and understanding.
    Having friends around during this difficult time may help you.

    It is the negative thoughts that are stopping you from being able to tell others about your depression.
    Ask yourself this questions ‘ What is the worse thing that can happen, if I tell my friends that I have depression’….. and then challenge that thought, and see is it rational or irrational thought, and change it to a positive thought, as this will then hopefully change your decision making.

    7. Send them a letter in mail

    It is also good to seek professional help from a counsellor or psychologist if you have not seen one as yet. The therapy sessions will help you to reduce your depression and give you more empowerment and control over your current life situation.

    Good Luck

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