We all feel different emotions throughout our lives. Sometimes we might feel happy, excited, lucky or proud and sometimes we might feel sad, down, worried or scared. Usually these bad feelings go away eventually by themselves, but sometimes you feel sad, down and hopeless for a long time. It can then become hard to think about or do other things in your life. This is known as depression.
One in ten people will be diagnosed with depression in their life, though the number of people who actually experience depression may be higher
Depression effects people in different ways, but some of the ways you’re feeling may include:
- Feeling sad or down
- Not enjoying things that you once did
- Sleeping more or less than previously used to
- Eating more or less than previously used to
- Struggling to concentrate on things like school work, reading, watching television etc.
- Feeling lonely
- Becoming irritated or angry very easily
If you think you might be depressed, or somebody you know might be, it is important that you speak to somebody you trust. Depression can be treated and there are lots of different people who will be able to help and support you towards feeling better.
Taking the first step to talk to somebody about how you’re feeling might seem really scary but people who care about you will want to help. There are lots of different people who will be able to help, choose someone you trust and feel comfortable talking to.
This might be a parent, another family member such as a brother or sister, it could be your friend, a teacher or youth worker.
The first step towards feeling better is talking to somebody, keeping things to yourself can make you feel worse.
Some other things that might help are:
- Trying to get a bit of fresh air when you can
- Exercise can really help improve your mood and make you feel better. Try and go for a walk, swim, cycle or dance around if you can
- Eat as healthily as you can and try to make sure that you don’t miss meals
- Make sure you do things that you enjoy and try to do them as often as you can, this could be seeing friends, reading a book or listening to music
- You could keep a diary of how you’re feeling-try to spot things that help you feel better and do more of these
Going to see your GP will also help and they will be able to suggest some further ways to help you, this might include:
- Talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT is one of the most effective therapies for depression; it will help you understand your thought, feelings and behaviours. Why you’re feeling and acting in a certain way and what you can do to feel better
- Sometimes, as well as receiving therapy your doctor might suggest taking a medication such as antidepressant to help you feel better
If you are a child or young person, concerned about your own mental health or that of a friend and need somebody to talk to, people at Childline will be available at any time on 0800 11 11.