When Someone You Know Has Depression

When Someone you know has depression coverby Susan J. Noonan, MD, MPH


“It’s easy to understand depression as an illness when you’re distanced from it.  It is more difficult to keep that in mind when you’re living with someone day to day who has depression.” 

John Hopkins University Press (June 2016)
ISBN (paperback): 978-1421420158
160 pages
Genre: Non- Fiction/Mental Illness/Caregiver

An advance reader copy was provided free of charge by John Hopkins University Press through edelweiss in exchange for my honest opinion.


This newest book by Dr. Susan Noonan, When Someone You Know Has Depression is aimed at supporting parents, spouses and friends who are on the front line.

Noonon says, “Family members and close friends are usually the first to recognize the symptoms of depression and the ones providing daily support.  Most felt powerless to know what steps to take, what to say or do in response to symptoms, or how to change the course of the illness.”

There is a ton of information in this little 160 page book.  Some of the discussion covers information most likely known already but now viewed more intimately and personal.  Noonan’s bedside manner is helpful and styled to make concerned supporters feel more confidant and secure in their conversations and observations.

The book is scattered with many professionally developed tables such as Symptoms of Depression, Warning Signs of Suicide, and Anger in your Family Member or Friend.

Although it is impossible to address every concern, there’s enough here to provide a guide for each reader.  Even a chapter on taking care of the caregiver.  And a brief chapter advising the concerned supporter that the depressed person (over 18) has the right to refuse treatment but can be overridden if in danger of harming themselves or others.

I would like to have seen some discussion of where the caregiver can turn if the loved one loses the strength to go forward and commits suicide.  Perhaps added to the chapter on taking care of themselves to avoid burnout.

Overall, a very useful book.

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