Depression is a mental health disorder that causes a state of low mood that affects your everyday life and lasts for a long time. Depression affects people in different ways and symptoms can range from low mood to feeling suicidal.

​Depression is not...

...the same as feeling ‘sad’ or ‘down’. It’s not a sign of weakness that you can ‘snap out of’ by ‘pulling yourself together’. Depression is a medical condition that cannot be simply cured with positive thoughts or a change in attitude.

How do I recognise it?

Symptoms of depression include: 

  • feeling down, upset or tearful 
  • not being able to enjoy things that are usually pleasurable or interesting 
  • difficulty concentrating 
  • finding it hard to function at work 
  • no self-confidence or self-esteem 
  • feeling hopeless that nothing will get better 
  • tiredness and loss of energy 
  • feeling irritable and intolerant of others

What can I do?

Talk to them. People worry about saying the wrong thing but it’s better to talk to the person than to avoid it. It’s better to say the wrong thing than nothing at all!

Regular check ins with you and the individual.

Encourage strong peer and social support.

Peer support - get them to buddy-up with a colleague who’s experienced the same thing or is understanding and supportive.

Signpost them to appropriate help such as occupational health.

Myth buster

Depression isn’t a real illness”. Depression is a serious illness and complex mental health disorder. It has psychological, biological and social origins and can be treated in many ways.

Antidepressants are the best cure to depression.” Antidepressants alter your brain chemistry and help address the biological issues that contribute to depression. However, antidepressants alone may not fully treat depression. A combination of antidepressants and therapy is a common and successful treatment strategy.

Depression is caused by a negative event.” Upsetting events such as the end of a relationship or the death of a loved one can increase your risk of depression but depression isn’t always caused by a sad situation. Depression may arise suddenly and inexplicably, even when things in your life seem to be going well. 

Further information

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