Stephen Fry Nails What You Should Never Say to A Depressed Person

October 9th 2015

Depression affects an estimated 350 million people worldwide. Even though it impacts so many lives, a lot of people still don't know how to properly approach those who are struggling with depression.

That's why comedian Stephen Fry's famous remarks on depression are so profound to those who understand the condition. Earlier this year, ATTN: posted a meme of Fry's quote and it received more than 36,000 likes on Facebook:

Stephen Fry depression -

"If you know someone who's depressed please resolve to never ask them why," Fry said. "Depression isn't a straightforward response to a bad situation, depression just is, like the weather. Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they're going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It's hard to be a friend to someone who's depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest and best things you will ever do."

Fry suffers from bipolar disorder and has reportedly attempted suicide more than once in his life. After his most recent attempt two years ago, he made similar comments about why he was unhappy enough to want to end his life.

"There is no 'why,' it's not the right question," he said. "There's no reason. If there were a reason for it, you could reason someone out of it, and you could tell them why they shouldn't take their own life."

Earlier this year, ATTN: spoke with Rabbi Rachel Bat-Or, a marriage and family therapist, about ways to be an ally to those with mental health issues.

"I think that you always have to ask the person their experience and what they want," Bat-Or said. "You have to be curious for their sake and not for your own sake. 'How do you experience this?' However they define it. 'How does that work in your life?' And then to say, 'What do you need? How can I support you?'"

Bat-Or said there's a difference between being intrusive and helpful and that it's important not to fall into the former category.

Therapist Jessica Bernal previously spoke to ATTN:'s Aron Macarow. Her advice is to be there for your friends with depression rather than try to analyze their issues as a person in her profession would.

"Don't try and be their therapist," Bernal said. "Just try and be with them and be a friend."

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also check out the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website for Mental Health Awareness Week.

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