Secondly, trying to "fix" the depression without first truly acknowledging the other person's emotions can be like kissing the "boo-boo" (injury) of a child when the child really needs stitches. The kiss, sweet as it is, won't make the boo-boo go away.
So acknowledge her feelings. For good or ill, this is what she feels. Of course, don't wallow in the Slough of Despair with her. That won't help her either. Just verbalize that you hear what she is saying, and that her feelings matter to you.
Consider the cause of depression.
As I wrote in my previous post, sometimes depression is linked to an illness. If her depression is accompanied or caused by physical problems, acknowledge the illness. "I'm so sorry that you're constantly in pain and can't sleep. That must make every little stress seem so big!" Then explore possible options to help her cope. "Should you talk to your doctor about stronger pain meds? Would you sleep more if you went to bed earlier?" Bear in mind that she may have thought of those options already, and be prepared for the possibility that none of your suggestions will work. Still, suggesting them shows that you care.
If her depression is linked to more spiritual/psychological reasons, continue to the next step.
Ask good questions.
Again, always listen first. You earn the right to speak truth into someone's life when you listen first. You may realize, after listening, that the cause of depression is psychological: low self-image, frustration over a delayed or broken dream, loss of a relationship, regret over past mistakes, etc. That's the point when you can gently offer help. "I know you feel undesirable because of your weight, but can I share what I find so attractive about you?"
Asking good questions is a fantastic way to share your opinion without coming across too strong. "What do you know about anorexia? Do you feel better about yourself when you make these choices? Why or why not?" Asking questions also allows you to probe deeper into her reasoning, and, often, she recognizes inaccurate thinking just by hearing her own voice speak it aloud.
realize your limitations--and the limitlessness of GOd.
Sometimes you can't fix it. I know a woman who lost two sons and suffers from several painful medical conditions. Is it any wonder that she is depressed? I can't bring her sons back. I can't take her pain away. What can I do? Nothing.
But God can do something. When appropriate, it's good to ask if you can pray with your friend. Hearing your honest, heart-felt prayer for her need can be a healing touch in itself. If she is not comfortable with praying with you, just let her know that you are praying. She may not believe in the power of God to heal, but she will understand your prayer as a gesture of kindness.
Help her stay accountable.
Ask her what you can do that will help her stay accountable to the truth. Can you call once a week to check in on her? Would she like it if you sent an encouraging Bible verse every morning via text? If she can't think of anything, find your own way to show her that you are thinking of her and praying for her. When appropriate, share truths from the Bible.
You may feel that I haven't talked enough about leading the depressed friend to the Bible. This is because I often see Christians quote a Bible verse (or several) before they have really listened.
If you have listened, and she is spiritually open, by all means, bring her to Scripture! She needs it!
Also, recognize when you need someone more knowledgeable than yourself. If the young woman lives at home, consider whether/how to get her parents involved. Would an older mentor or pastor be a better help than you in this situation? Sometimes you can best help by knowing where to find the help, not in being the help yourself.
I'm 28 and single. I have a chronic illness. I just came out of a difficult home situation.