depression helpline freephone 0800 111 757

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If you know of a friend or family member who may have depression or anxiety, take some time to explore this site – the information can help you understand what they are going through. We’ve made the site very simple to use and follow, but you’ll find detailed information in the fact sheets and links on many of the pages – they have extra information and the various ways of managing and treating it. These things will help too:


  • Spend time with them
  • Listen rather than talk – let them tell you how it is for them
  • Learn about depression - how it is treated and what you can do to help recovery
  • See yourself as part of their support team
  • Understand how depression or anxiety is affecting their daily life
  • Help the person to recognise and find ways of dealing with things that are worrying them
  • Help and encourage them to lead a healthy life, to exercise and to do things they enjoy
  • Support and encourage them to keep getting whatever support or treatment is offered
  • Take any thoughts of suicide seriously – it’s okay to talk about it. Don’t leave someone alone if they feel unsafe. Contact a health care provider or a crisis phone line.


  • Tell them to 'snap out of it' or 'harden up'. People cannot 'will' themselves better from moderate or severe depression
  • Encourage excess alcohol and drug use as a coping strategy - it can make things worse
  • Avoid them – they already feel isolated and this can make their depression worse
  • Assume the problem will just go away
  • Judge or criticise them for what they’re going through
  • Lose hope - they need you to believe they will get through this
  • Give unhelpful advice – for example, 'just think of people who are worse off’.

look after yourself

Caring for a family or whanau member with depression or anxiety can be very hard - and it is important to keep yourself well, especially if you are caring for someone with severe depression. It’s important to find ways of getting time-out for yourself and to feel okay about this. It’s not uncommon for a carer to experience anger, guilt or fear. Friends or family members may not understand, so talking to others who are in a similar situation may be helpful. Think about contacting a support network for carers (e.g Carers New Zealand).

next step

Depression is so common that it is highly likely you will at some stage know someone who is experiencing it. People with depression are more likely to get through with help and support than on their own. How you respond makes all the difference to whether they receive professional help and whether they feel supported by their family and social network.

0800 111 757

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