If you think you might have depression, you're not alone. Many young people experience this common, treatable condition.
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.
Feeling sad is a normal reaction to stressful or upsetting experiences. However, when these feelings go on and on, take over your usual self and interfere with your whole life, depression can set in. Anybody can suffer from depression and it affects people of all ages, ethnicities and social backgrounds.
There is no specific cause for depression. It’s usually caused by a mixture of things, rather than any one thing alone, such as:
Depression affects different people in different ways. Symptoms might include:
Just because you experience one or more of these symptoms, doesn’t mean you’re definitely affected by depression. If you have all or most of these signs, and have had them over a long period of time, it might mean you’re depressed and you might find it difficult to talk about how you’re feeling.
Simply talking to someone you trust, and who you feel understands, can lighten your burden. It can also make it easier to work out practical solutions to your problems. For example, if you feel unable to do your homework, letting your family and teachers know can be helpful so you can get some support to complete your work.
Here are some things to try:
When you have depression, you might feel ashamed and guilty. You might worry about upsetting others, especially family, or being told you’re making it up, or that’s your own fault. It can also be very hard to put your feelings into words. However, many young people in the same situation feel a great sense of relief once they’ve talked about it. Letting others know how you feel is important in getting you the right help and support.
Many young people get better with support and understanding. If the depression is dragging on and causing serious difficulties, it's important to seek treatment. Sometimes when you’re feeling low, you might want to use drugs or alcohol to forget your feelings. You might see no hope and feel like running away from it all. Doing this only makes the situation worse. When this happens, it’s important to let others know and get help.
Talk to your parents, GP or school staff. They can advise in various ways, for example, how long you should try self-help, when you should be referred on for further help, what services are available, such as local counselling services and the local ’Child and adolescent mental health service’ (CAMHS).
If your depression is very severe you can refer yourself to our services. In emergencies, you should always call 999.
If you have concerns about suicidal thoughts or self-harm there is more information on our pages on self-harm and suicidal thoughts.
If you need to speak to someone, you can call:
Anxiety and depression are terms discussed widely, in different media and amongst family and friends. But what do those labels actually mean? Local colleagues from the University of Reading are running a 5 week online course which is open to anyone who wants to understand more. You'll explore what it means to have anxiety or depression and how they are identified. The course will also demonstrate the leading evidence-based treatment–Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
This course is not intended to be a self-help treatment for anyone experiencing anxiety or depression, nor can it be used to formally diagnose yourself or anyone else but it will help you to understand more about these conditions and how they might be experienced by family, friends etc.
If you're aged 17 and over, and you need mental health support, you can contact Talking Therapies. Our friendly service offers support and advice on how to cope with challenges like depression, stress, anxiety or phobias.
Our teams are available for contact 8am to 8pm, Monday to Thursday, and 8am to 6pm on Friday.
You can email us at any time, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Call Talking Therapies 0300 365 2000 (calls charged at local rate)
Charlie Waller Trust
Little Blue Book of Sunshine - Apple download
Little Blue Book of Sunshine - Google download
On My Mind - Anna Freud
Royal College of Psychiatrists
Resources for depression