What Can I Do If I'm Feeling Depressed?

Depression isn't just a bad mood - we all feel low sometimes. It's when feeling low goes on for a long time and can get so bad it stops someone living a normal, active life.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to help yourself if you have depression and more help is available from your doctor.

What is depression?

Depression is an illness.

Most people recover well from it and even those with very serious depressions can get better with the right treatment and support.

Feeling low becomes a problem when it stops us leading the life we want to lead. It can stop us doing the things we should be able to do and things that we used to enjoy.

It can get so bad that people can't even remember what it feels like to be happy.

How can I know if I have depression?

Depression affects different people in different ways, but common symptoms include:

  • Feeling very low
  • Not enjoying anything
  • Being moody and easily upset or angered
  • Crying
  • Hating yourself
  • Feeling lonely
  • Blaming yourself for things that go wrong
  • Thinking about death and dying a lot
  • Wanting to die
  • Having no energy
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Not wanting to see friends
  • Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep.

If these feelings keep going on, people can start to have thoughts about killing themselves.

If you are having thoughts like that, get help now.

Call Childline free on 0800 1111 and speak to one of their advisors about how you feel - it can make all the difference.

What should I do if I think I have depression?

Speak to your doctor as soon as possible to get support.

In the meantime, it can really help if you talk about your feelings. You probably won't feel like talking, but it's one of the best ways to start feeling better.

If you feel you can't go on, get help now.

Call Childline free on 0800 1111 and speak to one of their advisors about how you feel - it can make all the difference.

If I go to my doctor, will I get put in hospital or have to take pills?

Most people have mild or moderate depressions. These depressions can be treated by increasing levels of physical activity, learning how to get better sleep and with a therapy called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

CBT teaches special exercises that help people to control their negative feelings and to change the way they think and behave.

Medicines for depression only really work for people who have severe depression or moderate depressions that go on for a very long time - most people don't need them. You can find out more about different types of medication for mental health issues via HeadMeds.

Only a very few people with depression end up in hospital. It can happen if they can't look after themselves, have lost touch with reality or medical staff fear they might try to kill themselves.

Further info and help

BSL Healthy Minds - Mental Health help in British Sign Language

YoungMinds - information about mental health and emotional wellbeing

ReThink - Young People - information and useful tips for young people on staying well and all about mental health problems.

Support In Mind Scotland - Support and action for people with mental illness - runs projects in many local areas around Scotland.

NHS Choices - information on depression

If you think you have depression, it's important to see your doctor.

Find more help and support from AyeMind's helpful resources and contacts.