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More than simply feeling unhappy for a few days

An illustration depicting feeling down

Many people go through times where their mood is low and feel sad or miserable about life for a few days. People with depression, however, experience these feelings for extended periods of time, i.e. weeks or months.

Depression is a genuine health condition that affects 1 in 4 of us over our lifetimes (Vivyan, 2015). It is not a sign of weakness or something you can simply “snap out of” by “pulling yourself together” (NHS, 2019a).

There are numerous different factors that make it more likely for someone to suffer from depression. These include genetics, upbringing or reactions to life events. Depression is often accompanied by other feelings such as anxiety, guilt and shame.

Thankfully, most people who suffer from depression end up making a full recovery, given the right treatment and support.

Types of depression

A depression diagnosis may be categorised as mild, moderate or severe depression. This categorisation is based on the impact of your symptoms on your life, as well as the type of treatment you’re being offered. It is possible for people to move between mild, moderate and severe depression.

Additionally, there are also specific types of depression:

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
    Depression that occurs at a particular time of year, or during a specific season.

  • Dysthymia
    Continuous mind depression lasting two years or more. Dysthymia is also called persistent depressive disorder or chronic depression.

  • Prenatal depression
    Depression that occurs during pregnancy. Also sometimes referred to as antenatal depression.

  • Postnatal depression
    Depression that occurs within a year of giving birth.

Mind (2019)

Symptoms of depression

There is a wide range of symptoms that people suffering from depression may experience. These symptoms can be highly complex and different people will experience different symptoms. In general, depressed people feel sad, hopeless and lose interest in things they used to enjoy, for extended periods of time (weeks, months or more).

If you’re suffering from depression, you’re unlikely to have all of the symptoms described below.

Some of the most common symptoms are:


If you're having suicidal thoughts, it's important to tell someone

Help and support is available right now if you need it. You don’t have to struggle with difficult feelings alone.

There are many helplines and text lines you can call or text. See this list from the NHS: help for suicidal thoughts .

You should also talk to someone you trust. Let your friends and family know about your situation as they may be able to offer support and keep you safe from harm. There’s no right or wrong way to start this conversation with your loved ones - just having the conversation is the most important thing.

You can also call a GP and ask for an emergency appointment, call 111 out of hours or contact your mental health crisis team if you have one.


NHS, 2019a. Overview - Clinical depression. [online] Available at:

NHS, 2019b. Symptoms - Clinical depression. [online] Available at:

Mind, 2019. Symptoms - What are the symptoms of depression? [online] Available at:

Vivyan, C., 2015. Depression. [online] Available at: docs/DepressionSelfHelp.pdf