Depression can affect any kind of person at any stage of their life. Although we all hear people use the word “depression”, when clinicians use it, they are usually referring to a problem with mood that lasts for more than a couple of weeks. People who are depressed can have a variety of different symptoms:

Mood - feeling low, dismal or gloomy for some time and not being able to “hold” a lighter mood for very long. People can also start to worry more and feel worthless and frightened.

Changes in sleep, appetite, sex drive and energy - Sometimes people who have depression can have a hard time getting to sleep. Others can have trouble staying awake. Some gain weight and others lose weight.

Reduced pleasure – people with depression struggle to find the fun or good feelings in things that they usually find pleasurable. This may stop them from wanting to socialise and they can become increasingly withdrawn. They may feel lonely or isolated but do not want to go out and find others to be with. They can also feel like they are being a burden or bothersome to others.

A clinician can help people with depression to understand their problems and work on ways to get moving and active again. Clinicians can help people to consider their situation, their thinking and their long held beliefs about themselves and the world and assist someone with the skills to tackle the things they feel too stuck to move.

If you are concerned that someone is depressed and may be suicidal, you can take them to your local hospital emergency department of call Lifeline or Kids Help line.

See also Beyond Blue and Black Dog Institute.