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

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:

Find out more from the Ministry

  • Mental health – information on what the Ministry does in this area
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