What is Smiling Depression and what to do if you or someone close has it?

Smiling Depression is one of the common and dangerous mental health issues. Here's everything you need to know.
depression,smiling depression,Health & FitnessWhat is Smiling Depression and what to do if you or someone close has it?
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If you check out the hashtag #FaceOfDepression on social media, you will find how several pictures of happy-go-lucky people, smiling, who are actually suffering the deceitful health disorder called Depression. It is very difficult to know who is suffering from it actually, but one should understand what smiling depression is, also it is high-time we should shun the taboo and have and share the information that will help to recognize if you or someone you love or know has it or not so that you can take necessary actions and save his or her's life. 

If the person is suffering from smiling depression then he or she will appear as a happy person but deep down that person is suffering inside. Unfortunately, family and friends unable to suspect whether there is anything wrong. Many times those who suffer also don't realize that they have a problem and they don't even look out for help. They often have active social lives, enjoy with their families, friends, and jobs, look successful and look happy but that's actually a facade, a mask. 

For instance, after lead vocalist for Linkin Park, Chester Bennington, took his own life, his wife Talinda took to Twitter to share a photo of him just a few days before his suicide. In the picture, you can see Chester smiling and having fun with the family but no one apparently knew about his depression and suicidal thoughts. 

Smiling depression

Speaking of Smiling depression, it is not recognized as a condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) but often diagnosed as a major depressive disorder (MDD) with atypical features.



A post shared by therobinwilliams (@therobinwilliams) on

One of the last pictures of Robin Williams, before his suicide in 2014.



A post shared by Sushant Singh Rajput (@sushantsinghrajput) on

One of the last posts shared by Sushant Singh Rajput.

Even though smiling depression hides behind a mask of happiness, there are some signs that you should know to detect the same.

A decreased or no interest in hobbies and activities that the person was enjoying earlier.

Changes in weight and appetite

Fatigue or lethargy

feelings of hopelessness, lack of self-esteem, and low self-worth

Loss of concentration


Thinking about negative situations over and over again

Forced happiness

If you are confused about the signs as depression is associated with sadness, lethargy, and despair, then you should know that depression signs can vary from person to person.

Someone with smiling depression may experience the above signs, but in public, they are mostly absent as they are active, a high-functioning individual with a steady job, social life, and appearing to be optimistic and cheerful.

Why they hide their feelings?

If you or anyone is experiencing depression yet continue to smile and put on a façade, then reasons could be: 

They think not showing signs of depression best as it is a sign of weakness

They don't want to burden anyone with your feelings

Because they think you are "fine"

They think many others have more grave issues, so they don't want to complain

They think the world will be better without you

Unfortunately, someone with smiling depression has the energy and motivation to attempt suicide. And that's why smiling depression can be more dangerous than a classic form of depression. 

Who is at higher risk?

Big life changes such as failing relationship or loss of a job, those who have the pressure of unrealistic expectations to be better or stronger. Someone with perfectionism is at more risk, as they have very high standards they hold themselves to.

How to diagnose smiling depression?

According to a paper from the World Health Organization (WHO), smiling depression's diagnosis can be complicated as they have antithetical (conflicting) symptoms to those of classic depression.

If you think you have depression, then seek treatment as soon as possible. Visit a medical professional and they will help with medications or psychotherapy (talk therapy) to cure the same.

How to help if you or someone who is suffering from smiling depression:

Help them to understand that they have a problem as many don't like to admit that they are depressed because they think they may across as weak. Show your love and support no matter what.

Be a good listener, actively listen to the person you want to help. Instead of saying everything will be fine, come up with ideas so that they cope with the situation.

Boost their self-esteem as it is our emotional immune system. Help them feel that they are productive and successful again.

Pay more attention to them. Call them often, be involved, and make sure you don’t miss any symptom as mentioned above.

Suggest them to follow a healthier diet and start exercising.

As per experts, certain depression can be caused by a lack of elements in our bodies (like serotonin or vitamin D, for example), and the deficiencies can be fixed with diet and exercise.

Suggest therapy and medical treatment.

A therapist will help to cure depression faster. So, tell them how important it is and how there is nothing wrong or embarrassing or will make them look weak with seeking out professional treatment. 


As mentioned, Depression has no one face. And when celebs die due to suicide we understand that they have been wearing masks all this while. Depression can be very difficult to deal with but remember that there is always hope. Just like any other disease or condition, you should seek treatment and share it with your close friends and family. If you can’t help at the individual level, contact resources who can help. 

ALSO READ: Mental Health Facts & Statistics: These eye opening facts on mental disorders will make you rethink

If you need support or know someone who is struggling, please reach out to your nearest mental health specialist or speak to someone about it. There are several helplines available for the same.

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