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breaking bad news to someone with depression

Community Member

My brother has severe depression and has not been at work for over six months. I’m really the only support he has. He lives alone, has a couple of friends but has not had any contact for quite some time. He is getting some help from mental health and psychology services. 
I speak to him on the phone a couple of times per week, SMS in between. We catch up in person maybe once every 1 to 2 weeks.
I’ve been offered a job in another state which is also close to where my adult child & grandchild lives. For me, this is an amazing opportunity, but I have no idea how to break the news to my brother, and to somehow minimise any long-term damage or distress it might cause him, Especially as abandonment is a major theme in his life.

I can see him just shutting down, and his depression getting worse.

Any thoughts, suggestions, insights would be appreciated. 




4 Replies 4

Community Member

Hi Gravcyc,


Thank you for reaching out with this fantastic post/question. It sounds like you are a very loving/caring sibling and as a brother who suffers depression myself it warms my heart to see you go to this effort.


I don't have much experience in the area as I've never had to move interstate but if I were in your brother's shoes I guess I would appreciate early notice. That way the transition could be as smooth as possible as opposed to a sudden drop in interactions. There are small things you might do during the lead up which include assuring your brother that you are still contactable and maintaining that phone/text connection but also reconnecting him with his mental health and psychology services if he is lagging in that area at all. Another useful tip before your departure, might be to introduce him to a social group setting so that he still has that social element in his life. For example this could include; a support group, a sporting club, a fitness class, a book club, volunteering group etc. Social connection is definitely a great way to allievate symptoms of depression (esp feelings of isolation) in any sense.


I hope my advice/support helps a little bit.


Thanks again for looking out for your brother and let us know how you go. 💙



Mark Z.
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Gravcyc,


I can tell that it's really challenging period for your brother. And he's so lucky to have you. It's good that he's seeing professionals, but it's also so important for him to have strong support from family members like you. You're doing really great job.


To be honest I have the same feeling with you, that your brother will be very upset if you move away.


Have you considered to invite him to live with you at your new home for a period? According to your description he doesn't have much social connection here anyway, which means that the mental cost for his relocation is relatively little. Maybe he will like the new environment, will be happy to meet your child and grandchildren?


I think he will not feel being abandoned if you invite him to stay with you for as long as he needs.



Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Gravcyc


Thankyou for your heartfelt post about your brother....You are a caring soul


Just from my own experience re depression, it is a rocky road yet the frequency we see our GP,  can be a huge relief to your brothers' pain and anguish


I was in denial in my 20's and thought that six monthly visits were okay......They were'nt okay. My symptoms only exacerbated 


* Monthly visits to a GP is excellent as a sufferer of depression (or anxiety) can benefit greatly

* Fortnightly is better if your brother's symptoms require


Only if its okay can I ask if your brother has any anxiety symptoms?


The frequent counselling is hard work yet the benefits are worth it (with a solid commitment to heal)

Any questions are always welcome



Life Member  



Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Gravcyc, as much as your brother relies on you with phone conversations, texting and visiting him, you have been a great support for him, then all of this can still continue and sometimes people only prefer having conversations on the phone/texting, rather than actual visits, especially if he has been getting help with psychology and mental health services who may visit him, so phone calls may be something much easier.

If you do decide to move interstate doesn't mean you won't be able to talk with him, and people suffering, don't particularly like having people visit them often, because how can they tell them to leave when they've had enough.

Take the job and you can slowly ease this new situation in with him.


Life Member.