Just as depression has no one sign or symptom, there is no standard typical reaction that a depressed person may receive when opening up to friends or professionals. However, it remains helpful for friends to be aware of the variety of responses a friend may receive or be concerned about receiving.
From the college: All colleges have different systems in place to treat mental illnesses, particularly the most prevalent, such as depression and anxiety. However, colleges differ in their willingness and ability to help in such circumstances. Most colleges do not have adequate resources, and recommend that extremely depressed individuals resort to off-campus treatment, which can be off-putting to an individual seeking help. While some students do find excellent counseling resources, some are unable to even make appointments. Furthermore, due to the sensitivity of depression and its relation to suicide, several colleges have reportedly forced students to withdraw or take a mental health leave. All of these factors can make it difficult for an individual with depression to be willing to make use of campus resources, though they are available and can sometimes turn out wonderfully.
From friends, classmates, and peers: Some peers have the ability to be extremely empathetic, especially considering the sheer number of college students who experience depression. In such cases, admitting to depression can be cathartic and helpful, and peers and friends may become a valuable support system for a depressed friend. However, that friend may also be concerned about the stigma and judgment that so often accompany and admittance of suffering from depression. Even a friend who has not had depression can be sympathetic and helpful, but a depressed friend may worry of the response. Some friends may initially be supportive, but later become distant, even telling the depressed individual that they no longer want to hear about the issues. Some depressed college students report friends not wanting to discuss any mental health aspect because they could not help and did not want to deal with it. Some even ended friendships because they could not handle an unwell friend and because the friendship was no longer the same. This can cause a depressed individual to feel even more worthless and troublesome, furthering their depression. Thus, friends can have a variety of reactions, and fear of a negative one can make it harder for a depressed individual to open up.