Words prove useless. In the face of how it feels.

Tim Robberts via Getty Images


In most of the responses to the horrifically sad news about Anthony Bourdain, people are posting links and phone numbers for suicide prevention services. They’re posting ‘you’re not alone’, and ‘you are loved’, and they’re urging those who are depressed or suicidal, to reach out.

That’s nice and all, but it’s completely useless for anyone who struggles with depression. Most people who are deeply depressed and/or suicidal, absolutely do not have the energy, the emotional strength, or even the will to ‘reach out.’ They just don’t. If they did, they wouldn’t be in such a low state in the first place.

Instead of putting the responsibility on those who are suffering, you need to take some action. If you haven’t heard from a loved one in a while, if you’re at all worried about them… PHONE THEM. Don’t text, don’t instant message, don’t email. Let them hear your voice. (If they don’t answer, keep calling until they do. Or go to their home if you can.)

Reading ‘you are loved’ and ‘you aren’t alone’ on a cold screen, is almost meaningless. Love and support aren’t nearly as much about telling, as they are about showing. Depressed or not, people need those words said warmly and directly to them. People need to be held, and seen, and heard. So speak to them. Visit them. Show them.

Taking the time to share a genuine human connection with someone, isn’t as easy or convenient as writing a few quick platitudes. Which is why it’s much more likely to actually make a difference. Even a small difference might be enough.

Don’t expect depressed people to have the ability to seek out support. Depression is crippling and isolating. If you truly want to help, stop typing empty words and instead, make a real effort to save someone you love from the dark.


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