Depression is a more extreme sense of feeling low or down in the dumps

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Everybody feels ‘low’, ‘down in the dumps’ or feels like they ‘can’t be bothered’ every so often. This is very normal and these dips in mood don’t usually get in the way of life too much. Depression is a more extreme sense of feeling this way and it does get in the way of life. Depression sometimes happens because of a particular event (eg death of someone close), and sometimes it just develops and there is no one reason. People that are depressed may also experience other difficulties alongside it, such as anxiety or self-harm.

Signs of depression in young people – you may experience the following:

  • Low motivation and mood
  • Changes in eating or sleeping
  • More negative thinking
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
  • Feelings of hopelessness (like it is never going to get better)
  • Feeling irritable, weepy or lonely.

Coping with teen depression

  • Talk to someone: This could be anyone that you find helpful to talk to, don’t bottle it up
  • Stay in touch: Try to keep connected to a few people, this can help your mood
  • Look after yourself: Take a look at things in your everyday routine such as your food, drink and sleeping habits to see if small changes could improve your mood
  • Tune into your thoughts: Spotting unhelpful thoughts can help to challenge negative thinking
  • Be more active: There’s loads of evidence that exercise improves our mood – you could try anything from walking the dog to riding a bike, trampolining or swimming
  • Have a routine: Creating a routine increases our chances of doing things which improve our mood. Build in small challenges you can achieve as well as treats
  • Professional help: If your mood is really getting in the way of your life, you may need extra support from someone trained to help – this might include talking therapy such as CBT. People who are very depressed sometimes find that medication can help too.

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