What is depression?
We all feel low or down at times, but if your negative emotions last a long time or feel very severe, you may have depression.
Depression often develops alongside anxiety.
It's not the same as manic depression, which is another term for bipolar disorder.
Depression is one of the most common types of mental illness. Although it's hard to feel optimistic when you're depressed, there is lots of support available to help you feel better.
The symptoms of depression
Depression affects different people in different ways. Symptoms can include:
- not wanting to do things that you previously enjoyed
- avoiding friends or social situations
- sleeping more or less than normal
- eating more or less than normal
- feeling irritable, upset, miserable or lonely
- being self-critical
- feeling hopeless
- maybe wanting to self-harm
- feeling tired and not having any energy
Just because you experience one or more of these symptoms, it doesn’t mean you’re definitely affected by depression. It’s important to talk to your GP to get a full diagnosis.
What to do about depression
Take the first step – depression can affect anyone, and you deserve help to feel better. Talk to someone you like and trust, like a teacher, relative, counsellor or friend.
You should also see your GP. They may offer to refer you to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), an expert or a psychiatrist who can help you.
Blogs, tips and advice
Our Activists share their tips on dealing with depression:
"Speak to your doctor or a trusted adult about how you’re feeling." Molly
"Don't be afraid to cry, especially if you're male - it helps to release emotions and you'll feel better afterwards." Ed
"I’ve found that identifying behaviours that aren’t beneficial to you, like endlessly scrolling through Instagram before bed and sleeping late, can be really helpful. It’s hard to force good habits, but it can do wonders for your overall mood." C.K.
"Try to keep going outside, even if it’s just a short walk, it can really help your mood to lift." Molly
"Find a distraction technique - we all have different ones; it could be jogging, music, art, reading etc." Ed
For more tips on dealing with depression, as well as real stories, visit our blogs:
Depression can be treated with therapy, or a combination of both therapy and medication. Exercise can also help relieve symptoms.
The most likely therapy you will be offered is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help you manage your thoughts and feelings, although other types of talking therapy are available.
YoungMinds Crisis Messenger
Provides free, 24/7 text support for young people across the UK experiencing a mental health crisis.
All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors.
Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.
Texts can be anonymous, but if the volunteer believes you are at immediate risk of harm, they may share your details with people who can provide support.
Text: YM to 85258
Opening times: 24/7
Offers confidential advice and support for young people struggling with suicidal thoughts.
Its helpline service - HOPELINEUK - is available to anybody under the age of 35 experiencing suicidal thoughts, or anybody concerned that a young person could be thinking of suicide.
Phone: 0800 068 4141
Email: [email protected]
Opening times: 9am – 10pm, Monday - Friday; 2pm – 10pm, weekends; 2pm – 10pm, bank holidays
CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)
If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.
Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.
Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.
Phone: 0800 1111
Opening times: 9am - midnight, 365 days a year