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A guide for young people Depression

If you think you might have depression, you're not alone. Find out more about this common, treatable condition and what to do if you're affected by it.

What is depression?

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"You are stronger than that mean voice inside your head"

We all feel low or down at times, but if your negative emotions last a long time or feel very severe, you may have depression.

Depression is a mood disorder where you feel very down all the time.

Depression can happen as a reaction to something like abuse, bullying or family breakdown, but it can also run in families.

Depression often develops alongside anxiety. 

It's not the same as manic depression, which is another term for bipolar disorder. 

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.

The symptoms of depression

IG-artwork shows mountains and a yellow sun with text wrapped around that reads 'These Feelings Are Temporary And Won't Last Forever'

These feelings are temporary and won't last for ever

Depression affects different people in different ways. Symptoms can include:

  • not wanting to do things that you previously enjoyed
  • avoiding friends or social 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

Just because you experience one or more of these symptoms, it doesn’t mean you’re definitely affected by depression. It’s important to talk to your GP to get a full diagnosis.

How to speak to your GP

What to do about depression

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It is okay to show that you are not okay

Take the first step

Depression can affect anyone, and you deserve help to feel better. Talk to someone you like and trust, like a teacher, relative, counsellor or friend.

You should also see your GP. They may offer to refer you to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), an expert or a psychiatrist who can help you.

Guide to CAMHS
  • Speak to your doctor or a trusted adult about how you’re feeling.
    Molly
  • Don't be afraid to cry, especially if you're male - it helps to release emotions and you'll feel better afterwards.
    Ed
  • Just know that sometimes we want a bad period of life to end rather than life itself.
    C.K.
  • Try to keep going outside, even if it’s just a short walk, it can really help your mood to lift.
    Molly

Treating depression

Depression can be treated with therapy, or a combination of both therapy and medication. Exercise can also help relieve symptoms.

The most likely therapy you will be offered is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help you manage your thoughts and feelings, although other types of talking therapy are available.

Find out more about medications
Realise that how your feeling won’t last forever and there’s always something to look forward to.
Molly

Get help now

Where to get help

If you're feeling down right now, don't bottle it up and struggle alone. Help is available - here are some services that can support you. 

  • YoungMinds Textline

    Text YM to 85258

    Provides free, 24/7 text support for young people across the UK experiencing a mental health crisis.

    All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors.

    Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.

    Texts can be anonymous, but if the volunteer believes you are at immediate risk of harm, they may share your details with people who can provide support.

    Opening times:
    24/7
  • Samaritans

    Whatever you're going through, you can contact the Samaritans for support.

    Opening times:
    24/7
  • Papyrus

    Offers confidential advice and support for young people struggling with suicidal thoughts.

    Its helpline service - HOPELINEUK - is available to anybody under the age of 35 experiencing suicidal thoughts, or anybody concerned that a young person could be thinking of suicide.

    Opening times:
    9am – midnight, 365 days a year
  • CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)

    Provides support to anyone in the UK who is feeling down and needs to talk or find information.

    Free webchat service available.

    Information about the helpline and how it works available here.

    Opening times:
    5pm - midnight, 365 days a year
  • Childline

    If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.

    Sign up for a free Childline locker (real name or email address not needed) to use their free 1-2-1 counsellor chat and email support service.

    Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.

    Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.

    Opening times:
    9am - midnight, 365 days a year
  • The Mix

    Offers support to anyone under 25 about anything that’s troubling them.

    Email support available via their online contact form.

    Free 1-2-1 webchat service available.

    Free short-term counselling service available.

    Opening times:
    4pm - 11pm, seven days a week