9 Thoughtful Gifts to Help a Loved One Cope with Depression

Depression is a serious illness that can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic background. Supporting a loved one with depression can be challenging, but there are numerous ways you can help them, from offering a simple gift to helping them find a therapist. 


Your support can make a huge difference in their recovery, but it’s important to look after your own mental health as well. It’s common to experience negative emotions like guilt, sadness, and even anger, so it’s important to set boundaries and take time for yourself when needed.


In our latest blog post, we’ll cover various topics related to supporting a loved one with depression, including:

  • Gift ideas for someone with depression
  • General tips for helping someone struggling with depression
  • A full guide to organizing a meal train for a loved one

9 Gift Ideas for Someone Struggling with Depression

A simple gift can go a long way in brightening someone’s day

friends exchange gifts
Remind your friend how much they mean to you with a simple gift.


Regular journaling can be great for one’s mental health. Tracking down one’s thoughts and feelings can reduce anxiety, regulate emotions, cut out obsessive thinking, and improve their awareness and perception of events. Some people can also try gratitude journaling, where they record positive events and interactions in their life. 


You can buy a simple notebook or something more elaborate like one of these guided journals:


  • A Year of Zen: A Year of Zen is a 52-week guided journal written by Zen priest and teacher Bonnie Myotai Treace. Each page brings a new prompt for the day that is designed to help the user reflect and dig deeper into their mental well-being. 
  • The 5-Minute Gratitude Journal: This journal is designed to help people break down negative thoughts and redirect them to more positive aspects of their lives. It offers daily morning and evening prompts that encourage users to reflect on things they’re grateful for and build a more positive mindset. 
  • Let That Sh*t Go: Letting go of daily frustrations and struggles can be hard. This journal is the perfect device to rant and release those negative emotions you’ve been bottling up inside yourself. 

Weighted Blanket

Weighted blankets have been proven to help people with depression and anxiety. They can weigh anywhere between 5 and 30 pounds and are designed to mimic deep-pressure stimulation to relax the nervous system. 


Sleeping with a weighted blank can help calm a restless body and improve sleep issues. That said, you might want to avoid gifting your friend a weighted blanket if they have sleep apnea, asthma, or claustrophobia. 


Some of our favorite weighted blankets include:


  • Gravity Store Weighted Blanket: If you’re looking for a super-soft microfiber weighted blanket, the Gravity Store has the perfect product for you. Its weighted blanket comes in 7 different color options and 3 weight options at 15, 20, and 35 pounds. It’s also easy to maintain, with a microfleece cover that you can throw in the washing machine. 
  • Nuzzie Knit Weighted Blanket: Nuzzie offers a chic knit blanket made from recycled materials. It comes in four different weights: 8, 15, 20, and 25 pounds. Users have enjoyed Nuzzie’s weighted blanket for its even weight distribution and smooth material. 
  • Tranquility Weighted Blanket: Weighted blankets can be pricey, but Tranquility offers an inexpensive option with high-quality features. This micro plush blanket is filled with glass microbeads and also features a removable cover. 

Essential Oils or Aromatherapy Candles

a small vial of essential oil surrounded by fresh herbs. Soothing scents make good gifts for friend with depression
Candle scents like lavender and rosemary are known for their calming effects.

Some research has found that aromatherapy can be a beneficial aid in depression treatment. While essential oils do not function as a cure on their own, they can improve sleep cycles and ease anxiety. People can use them by either inhaling their scent through the nose or diluting them and massaging them into the skin.


When searching for essential oils or candles to gift your friend, we recommend ordering some in these scents:


  • Lavender
  • Chamomile
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Sweet Orange

Light Therapy Lamp

Light therapy is sometimes used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that occurs during a certain time of year. Researchers believe that light therapy can help improve one’s circadian rhythm, increase alertness, and aid in mood regulation. 


During a light therapy session, the user sits near a light therapy lamp. The length of the session varies depending on the lamp’s strength and how well the user can handle it. But people usually spend around 30 minutes per session. 


Guided Meditation Books & Apps

a meditative moment surrounded by nature and reading a book
Regular meditation can help people manage negative thoughts and emotions.


Life can get noisy and stressful. Meditation is a simple and inexpensive method for helping one manage life’s stressors and even retrain their way of thinking. 


People who are new to meditation may benefit from guided books and apps. If you’re looking for one to send your friend, we recommend checking out these top choices:


  • Calm: Millions of people around the world use Calm for its guided calming exercises and breathing tips. The popular app even offers sleep stories read by celebrities like Harry Styles and Matthew McConaughey. Users can add meditation reminders and track basic statistics like the number of minutes they’ve mediated and the number of sessions they’ve completed.  
  • Headspace: Headspace is another well-known app that offers hundreds of guided meditations. Users can track their progress and add daily reminders to practice. Through the buddies features, users can also join friends on their journey to improved mindfulness and emotional health. 
  • The Power of Now: The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Trolle is one of the most popular meditation books on the market. Much of the book focuses on the philosophy behind mindfulness. It’s a great guide to spiritual self-help, and it also offers some starter exercises for beginners. 
  • The Mindful Way Through Depression: This book is a great tool for practicing cognitive therapy techniques and meditation for managing depression. Learning how to stay in the present moment and let go of things out of one’s control can be extremely beneficial for one’s mental health. The book also comes with a CD full of guided meditations. 

Coloring Books

Coloring is a great way to relieve stress. The act of coloring can also help promote mindfulness, as it encourages one to stay focused on what’s going on in the present moment. 


While most people associate coloring with children’s books, there has been an increase in adult coloring books featuring intricate designs on the market. If your friend has a tablet, you can also send them some coloring apps to try! 

Herbal Tea

Whether your loved one is an avid tea fan or is more of a coffee drinker, it could be helpful to throw some herbal tea packets in your care package. 


Herbal tea offers a number of benefits, including:


  • Improved sleep
  • Reduction in stress and anxiety
  • Elevated moods


Certain teas have been found to be particularly helpful in easing symptoms of depression:

  • Chamomile Tea
  • Green Tea
  • Lemon Balm Tea
  • Valerian Root Tea
  • Lavender Tea

Spa Day

Sometimes, we just need to have a day dedicated to ourselves and our mental well-being. Enjoying a day out with a friend can do wonders to improve one’s mood and happiness. 


That’s why we recommend organizing a special spa day for you and your loved one! You can schedule a number of activities for your special spa day, like:


  • Swedish Tissue Massages
  • Facials
  • Aromatherapy
  • Sauna Time
  • Hydrotherapy


During your spa day, you can also treat yourself to some little gifts like scented lotions, bath bombs, and facial masks. 

Therapy Dough

Therapy dough is a special type of sensory play dough designed to help relieve stress and anxiety. It can come in a variety of scents like lavender and citrus to help aid in relaxation. Some doughs even come with essential oils or moisturizing agents. Therapy dough can be used anywhere, including work, home, or public places where high stress and tension might occur. 

Other Ways You Can Support a Loved One with Depression

Supporting someone with depression can be challenging, but doing so can make a huge difference in their recovery

friends socializing over beverages at an outdoor bar. Companionship is one of the best gifts for friend with depression
Educating yourself and helping your loved one find professional treatment can aid in their recovery.

Educate yourself on the symptoms of depression

Depression can manifest itself in a multitude of symptoms. If you notice any of the below behaviors or signs, your loved one may be suffering from depression:


  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities they once enjoyed
  • Changes in eating habits — either eating too much or too little
  • Expressing negative thoughts
  • Engaging in risky activities 
  • Substance abuse
  • Becoming easily angered or irritable
  • Expressing suicidal thoughts and ideations
  • Withdrawing from social contact and seeking isolation
  • Lack of energy
  • Sleep disturbances from either insomnia or sleeping too much

Encourage them to seek help

If you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms, it might be time to sit down with your loved one and encourage them to seek professional help. You can still offer your support, but a trained mental health counselor or psychiatrist is best equipped to help them make it to recovery. They will be able to start a treatment plan and prescribe them any medication, if necessary. 


This may not be an easy conversation to have. When you sit down with them, make sure you are in a comfortable environment and that they are not distracted. You can start off by asking them questions like “Is everything okay? You haven’t seemed like yourself lately." This allows you to learn what they need and if there are any stressors occurring in their life. 


If they open up to you, you can offer to help them find treatment and even offer to attend an appointment together. If they push back, it’s important to respect their boundaries and personal wishes. 

Remember to look after your own mental health

While you look after your loved one, remember to look after yourself too. Remember to set boundaries with the person and find time for your own personal hobbies and activities. You can also avoid burnout by ensuring other friends and family members are helping your loved one.

Start a meal train

woman preparing fresh pasta in a home kitchen. Creating a meal train is one of the best gifts for friend with depression
Eating well can be a challenge when struggling with depression, so providing healthy food options can be a thoughtful and practical gift.


People with depression sometimes have trouble carrying out everyday tasks like grocery shopping and cooking. This can lead to unhealthy eating habits, which may end up worsening their symptoms. 


Organizing a meal train is a practical and thoughtful way to support someone with mental health issues. It provides nutritional and emotional support and reminds them that they have caring people in their life.


To start, you should reach out to them and ask what they need. Maybe some groceries or a restaurant meal delivery is enough. If you think they might need extra help, you can organize a full meal train with other friends and family members. 


You can use Give InKind to help organize volunteers and delivery schedules. Having a platform like Give InKind ensures that no one misses their delivery slot or accidentally duplicates a meal. 

Learn what to do in an emergency situation

If you believe that your loved one is at immediate risk of suicide, you should dial 911 or the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. Do not leave them alone. 

Everyone’s experience with depression is different. Remember to be open and responsive to your loved one’s needs. Use Give InKind to streamline and empower support for your loved one.


Visit Give InKind’s blog for more advice on how to help a loved one in need.

Give InKind does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We have an affiliate relationship with many of the advertisers on our site, and may receive a commission from any products purchased from links in this article. See Terms & Conditions.

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