depression help

Talk to someone

The most important thing you can do if you think you are feeling depressed is talk to someone. This could be your parents, a sibling, friend, teacher, GP but often talking about how you are feeling can really help you to feel better. People who care about you will want to help you to feel better so don’t feel worried about talking to people.

If it is something specific that is causing the depression, for example if you are worried about exams, then talking to a teacher may help to reassure you or they may be able to offer practical help such as extra reading to help you feel better about things.

Visit your GP

If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a friend, teacher or your parents, go and see your GP – they are there to help you to feel better whether it is a physical health problem or a mental health problem and there are a number of things that they may suggest for you. Don’t suffer in silence, keeping it all to yourself will only worsen your feelings of anxiety or depression and remember, you’re not the only one to feel like this, other young people – and adults too – experience depression.


There are things you can do to help yourself if you are experiencing depression:-

  • Talk to someone.
  • Get some fresh air most days.
  • Get some regular exercise – there is a proven link between exercise and better mental health.
  • Do things you enjoy whether it is skateboarding, hanging out with friends or reading.
  • Try to eat regularly even if it is small meals.
  • Write a diary about how you are feeling.
  • Remember – you are not the only one to experience depression and you haven’t done anything wrong. People can help so don’t suffer on your own, choose someone you like and trust to talk to.

The treatment you get will depend on the severity of the depression. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) is a body that provides guidance on health issues and it describes depression as mild, moderate or severe.

If the depression is mild, you will probably not be offered medication according to the Nice guidance. The doctor will probably keep an eye on your situation and offer advice on support and diet/exercise to see if that can help the issue without medication.


If the depression is continuing for some time, or considered moderate to severe, your doctor may refer you to your local child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS). They will assess you and discuss with you what they think is the best kind of treatment for you. This might be cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which is a type of talking therapy and aims to help you understand your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Alternatively you may be prescribed with a course of antidepressants to help you to feel better but the options will be discussed with you. The Nice guidance recommends that young people do NOT use St John’s wort. This is a herbal medicine but the guidance states that insufficient research has been carried out to check whether it is safe for young people to use it.


Nice says that antidepressants should be given to children and young people only rarely and usually in addition to other help such as therapy. If you have mild depression you shouldn’t be offered antidepressants it is only if you have moderate to severe depression. If you are offered antidepressants they should be Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) and the one you should be given is Prozac (Fluoxetine). If you have side effects, then tell your doctor and you will be offered a different SSRI. Antidepressants take a while to get into your system so if you don’t feel better overnight, don’t despair, give it a couple of weeks and you should start to feel the effects.

If you do not feel better as a result of taking the antidepressants or through the therapy, tell your GP as he/she may offer you a different type of medication or therapy that may help.

See our next section on sources of further information on depression