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  1. What is depression?
  2. Signs and symptoms of depression
  3. What causes depression?
  4. How depression can affect you.
  5. Treating depression
  6. Resources

Depression is more serious than just feeling sad and miserable when you have had a horrible day. Depression is when you feel sad and down most of the time. It is actually an illness and it can have a big effect on your life.

People don’t choose to have depression.

  • feeling sad or anxious most of the time
  • feeling like there is no hope, and nothing/no one can help you
  • not enjoying things that you used to enjoy
  • tiredness or lack of energy, even when you have rested
  • not eating much or overeating
  • sleeping too much, or not being able to sleep properly
  • feeling of worthless
  • feelings of guilt
  • mood swings
  • aches or pains that have no obvious cause
  • not wanting to see people or not wanting to go out
  • feeling angry often, for small things or even no reason at all

If these symptoms stay for a long time, or they get worse, then it is time to talk to someone and tell them how you feel.

Depression can happen because of lots of different things, such as:

  • bullying
  • emotional, physical or sexual abuse
  • problems at home (emotional abuse, your parents fighting a lot)
  • someone you love dying
  • someone close to you getting sick
  • substance abuse problems
  • exam stress
  • worries about your sexuality or gender

Depression can also happen because there is an imbalance in the chemicals in your brain which influence your mood. When this happens, there isn’t always an obvious reason for feeling depressed.


  • having depression or feeling down happens to lots of people
  • anyone could be affected, whether you’re a girl, boy, young or old
  • depression can start at any time
  • there are lots of things you can do to help you feel better
  • you do not have to face things alone, you can always talk to Childline

If you feel that your sadness is interfering with your life, remember, there are people and places that can help. You can phone Childline 08000 55 555 or speak to somebody you trust. You can get help to feel better again.

How depression can affect you.

Depression affects people in different ways. You might find it hard to concentrate, you might feel that everything is negative and sometimes it might feel that you will never feel nice again.

Feeling depressed can be hard to deal with. Some people who are depressed might start to hurt themselves (self-harm), abuse drugs or alcohol, or make risky choices that can put them in danger of getting hurt or getting a sexually transmitted infection. Some people also might develop an eating disorder where they eat too much or too little.

Some young people might be so seriously depressed, feel so bad about themselves and their lives that they start thinking about ways to kill themselves (suicide). If you’re having suicidal thoughts or feelings (or are worried about one of your friends), you are not alone and there is help for you. Please call Childline to speak to one of our counsellors on 08000 55 555.

Without treatment, depression can impact on your

  • Sense of self and self-esteem
  • Relationships with family and friends
  • School performance
  • Ability to make decisions
  • Participation in recreational activities

Treating depression

Depression is a real illness that needs professional help. If you are feeling depressed it is important to get help as early as possible. Professionals use therapy or counselling, and medications to treat depression and also recommend regular exercise and a healthy balanced diet.


Depression and feeling sad | Childline

The Depressed Child

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