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 is a mood disorder where you feel very down all the time. Depression can happen as a reaction to something like abuse, bullying or family breakdown, but it can also run in families.
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 the child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS), an expert or a psychiatrist who can help you.
Depression can be treated with medication, therapy or a combination of both. Exercise can also help relieve symptoms.
You may be offered cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) to help you manage your thoughts and feelings.
Where to get help
- If you're in distress and need support, you can ring Samaritans for free at any time of the day or night.
- Freephone (UK and Republic of Ireland): 116 123 (24 hours)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Papyrus (Prevention of Young Suicide)
- Confidential advice and support for young people who feel suicidal.
- HOPELineUK: 0800 068 41 41
- Text: 07786 209 697
- Email: email@example.com
CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)
- Offers support to young men in the UK who are down or in a crisis.
- Helpline: 0800 58 58 58 (Daily 17:00-midnight)
- If you're under 18 you can confidentially call, email, or chat online about any problem big or small
Freephone 24h helpline: 0800 1111
- Sign up for a childline account on the website to be able to message a counsellor anytime without using your email address
- Chat 1:1 with an online advisor
- If you're under 25 you can talk to The Mix for free on the phone, by email or on their webchat. You can also use their phone counselling service, or get more information on support services you might need.
- Freephone: 0808 808 4994 (13:00-23:00 daily)