Depression is when a person feels sad, lonely, down, anxious, or stressed for long periods of time. It can affect your everyday life and prevent you from living your life normally. Different methods of treatment are available for people who are depressed including talking therapies and in some instances medication. You can also take positive steps to look after your own mental health.
Symptoms of Depression
- feeling sad or anxious most of the time
- not wanting to do things that you previously enjoyed,
- not wanting to meet up with friends or avoiding 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
Depression can be a reaction to stresses such as exams, bullying, abuse, or family troubles. But it can also happen without any cause. If someone in your family has depression, or has had it in the past, then you may be more likely to get it too. Most people recover from depression within 3-12 months, although some will need long-term treatment..
Take action: Just like looking after your physical health, by keeping fit, eating well, and setting healthy habits, you can also look after your mental health through using the five ways to wellbeing. These give you five actions to do every day that help your mental health. They are: connect (talk to people), be active (go outside and do something physical), take notice (observe, take a photo, be absorbed in something), keep learning (this can be at school, or just reading or practising a new skill) and give (help someone else). Looking after your mental wellbeing can make you more resilient.
Depression is not the end
Lots of creative, happy and successful people have at one time or another had depression. Through effective self care and treatment they have taken the steps they need to manage, cure or improve their depression.
In collaboration with the WHO to mark World Mental Health Day, writer and illustrator Matthew Johnstone tells the story of overcoming the "black dog of depression".