There's a friend I really care about who's depressed. Every time he talks about his depression, I want to say something that can help him, but the words always fail me. Sometimes when we're talking he'll just say, out of nowhere, that he's depressed or that he wants to die, and then he doesn't go into detail. Every time he says it, I don't know how to reply. I'm afraid that I'll say the wrong thing, because he has a tendency to push people away when he's hurt or upset, and I can't help him if I can't talk to him. He also doesn't say what is bothering him, and I don't know much about his personal life outside of school, so I don't know what to say to cheer him up. I don't know how to broach the topic to him, because again, I don't want him to push me away.
Please, if anyone reads this and can, please give me advice on what to say or how to show that I'm there for him.
Well, it sounds like he's trying to see if he can confine in you, how much he can start trust you and how much you really care and value him as a friend. BUT it also sounds like he might need professional help too, if he's having sucidal thoughts and wants to die, which you could start to encourage him to get that help.
When he says those kind of things to you, you could ask him if he wants talk and ask if he can say what makes him depressed and go about it that way. I think just really listening to someone, not judging and be patient is a really good start. Also let him know he's a really good friend to you and tell him what you like about him that will give him some self esteem hopefully. He'll start to appreciate you more as a friend, but you don't always have to know the answers so don't put pressure on your self.