Spotting Depression in Friends and Family

We hear about depression in the news all the time, but do you really know how to tell if someone is depressed?

If you answered yes, then you also likely know how common depression is, that roughly 1-in-8 Canadians will suffer from depression some point in their lives.

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses that people encounter,” Says Dr. Stratton Steed from Pinnacle Medical Centres Okotoks location. “Usually depression is brought on by stress or a life altering event in a person’s life, with people who have a family member with depression more likely to experience it.”

Here a few signs that a friend or family member may be suffering from depression.

Lacking Interest

People’s interests are always changing, but if a friend or family member pulls a complete 180 and suddenly doesn’t want anything to do with an activity they used to love, then they may be suffering from depression. So if you and your friend used to go running every Sunday morning or for coffee every Tuesday while the kids are in school and they suddenly don’t want to, maybe ask them how they are feeling.

Constant Complaining

There is a certain element of complaining in our DNA – no one should be happy with everything all the time. But if your Grandma Nelly never used to say a peep and now she yells at the waiter every time you take her for lunch then there may be more going on in her life than she’s telling you. Depressed people generally see the negativity in the world rather than the positivity and that generally leads to complaining more than usually.

Being Sick More Often

When people are depressed the symptoms usually show up physically as well. If you have a friend that is complaining all the time about headaches or stomach aches, there may be more to the story than Chinook winds and gluten.


If you see any of these signs in a friend or family member, the best thing to do is to ask them if something is bothering them and provide them with someone to talk to about how they are feeling. Talking about how you feel is one of the best ways to deal with depression.

If you’re feeling depressed and aren’t sure who you can talk with about it, start with your family doctor.

Don’t have a family doctor?

Pinnacle Medical Centres’ offer short wait times for walk-in patients to see a family doctor in Calgary, a family doctor in Strathmore, a family doctor in High River and a family doctor in Okotoks.

Most of our locations are also accepting new patients, including our:

  • Crowfoot Location
  • Okotoks Location
  • Strathmore location
  • Beddington Location
  • High River Location