What is depression?

Depression is a condition which affects the way someone thinks and feels about the world around them. When someone has depression, feelings like happiness or excitement can be overshadowed by sadness.

We all feel sad from time to time. This is a completely normal part of life. Depression is a mental illness, which goes much further than the usual emotional ups and downs. Depression can last for a long time – weeks, months – or even longer. It can also have a real impact on people’s day to day life, affecting relationships and their ability to work or cope.

What causes depression?

Like most mental health conditions, a combination of factors can lead to depression. Such as:

  • family history of mental illness
  • stressful life events
  • physical health issues
  • substance abuse (drugs or alcohol)
  • personality factors
What are some of the signs of depression?

Some of the common traits people with depression experience include negative thoughts (about yourself, your family, school or friends) and perhaps feelings of sadness or anger. It might also be hard to relax or really difficult to let go of some harmful thoughts or memories.

There are different types of depression. Some of the different types require certain treatment plans.  For more information on the different types of depression visit Youth Beyond Blue.

Can people recover from depression?

Yes. It does take some time and effort. If you think that you or someone you know might be suffering from depression, one of the best things you can do is to talk to someone about it.

You might be comfortable talking with a trusted friend or teacher. If not, there are lots of free mental health services available like, Youth Beyond Blue, Headspace or Reach Out you might want to consider tapping into.

Read more about different ways you can seek help below or click here to find out more about the different kinds of professionals which can help you deal with depression.

Getting help at school

At your school there will be staff who help students all the time deal with issues like depression. Sometimes they’re called Wellbeing Officer, Student Welfare Officer, Pastoral Care Teacher or the Student Counsellor.

If you’re not sure who this teacher might be at your school, chat to the staff in the main office or ask a teacher you like and trust. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

Talk to your doctor

Doctors also help people with issues like depression and anxiety all the time. If you are worried about your parents finding out, check out this post about going to the doctor on your own.

Get in touch with professionals

Youth Beyond Blue, Headspace and  Reach Out have trained counsellors available to talk you through your situation and help you work out strategies to deal with it. Kids Help Line (1800 55 1800) is actually pretty awesome too – you can talk to a counsellor for free, at any time and it’s completely private.

Be kind to yourself

If talking to someone about how you feel, like a doctor or a counsellor, doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, there are also heaps of things people can do for themselves to reduce the effects of depression. Things like exercise, mindfulness meditation and changing your self-talk can really help.

Click here for a list of Support Services.