How do you tell if a friend has depression?

I'm on a year abroad at the moment and I've got a group of friends here who are also on a year abroad. Most of us are having a great time but one is really miserable - she never wants to leave her flat, spends every evening on Skype with her family/boyfriend back home and is always crying. At first we thought it was just homesickness but she's been like this for months and almost didn't come back after Christmas. Is there something we should be doing??!

This question was asked on 20th January 2015 and has been read 2956 times.

  • Nicola Byrom · 8 years ago


    Last year Student Minds put together the Look After Your Mate campaign, to give students tips and suggestions for supporting their friends through difficulties. There are lots of simple things that you can do to be supportive. I'd suggest that the best place to start is reading our Look After Your Mate Guide

    All the best, 


  • Frances @ Queer Abroad · 8 years ago

    In general, it might help to read up on it on the NHS page for depression -- they even have a test for trying to judge whether you're depressed (obvs you can't use this on other people but it's a useful thing to know about).Have you tried *asking* her? You don't have to be like "ARE YOU DEPRESSED" but you could say something like "you seem really down a lot, do you want to talk about it?" or whatever sounds more natural. Also, if any of you have experience with depression, it might be worth bringing it up that way, like "I've noticed you don't go out much and I'm worried because I used to do that when I was severely depressed, are you ok?" Let her know that she can talk to you and check in :)

  • Hannah Smith · 8 years ago

    Yeah, I would try to ask and see if there is anything underlying. The fact is though she might not even know she is suffering from depression if she has never suffered before. I mistook my extremely low mood for me not pulling my socks up on my Year Abroad. Ask her if this was a problem before she moved abroad, as if her low mood has been over an extended period it could be a sign of depression. 

    If she opens up, suggest her seeing a doctor. Even in France as they got straight on it for me and seeing someone was excellent for my language which should help her to feel productive maybe. 

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