Depression is a mental illness where you feel sad and miserable most of the time and your mood is persistently very low.
Being depressed is more than feeling down for a day or two – it usually continues for weeks or months at a time.
Depression can range from being a mild illness, to a severe one – where you can lose interest in life and the things you used to enjoy.
Triggers of depression
Often depression is triggered by a difficult situation or stressful changes in your life. It can build up over many years.
Signs of depression
Some of the signs of depression are:
- feeling tired all the time
- getting too much sleep or not enough
- feeling worthless and helpless
- thinking about death a lot
- having no energy and feelings of low self-esteem
- loss of appetite or overeating
- sadness or emotional ‘numbness’
- loss of pleasure in everyday activities
- irritability or anxiety
- poor concentration
- feeling guilty, or crying for no apparent reason.
Managing your depression
There are things you can do yourself to help manage your depression. Here are a few ideas:
- do regular exercise
- get good quality sleep
- understand what triggers depression for you (eg, lack of sleep, too much stress)
- join a support group
- eat healthily
- reduce stress
- learn relaxation techniques.
Getting help is an important part of managing depression.
Talk to someone:
- a friend or a family member
- free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
- your GP, who can advise on the best treatment options for you
- a member of your local community mental health team (contact them through your local district health board).
Get in touch with counselling services:
- a school guidance counsellor
- relationships services
- iwi and other Māori health counselling services
- alcohol and drug services
- family support services.
Phone a helpline:
- Need to talk? (1737, free text or call)
- the Depression Helpline (0800 111 757)
- Lifeline (0800 543 354)
- Samaritans (0800 726 666)
- Youthline (0800 376 633)
Find out more from the Ministry
- Mental health – information on what the Ministry does in this area