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In simple terms depression is a significant period of negative mood or sadness which usually involves a loss of interest or enjoyment from nearly all activities and lasts for at least two weeks.

The symptoms of depression may be different for each person. A person experiencing a depression may display a range of symptoms including: 

  • Changes to eating or sleeping patterns such as too much or too little, including frequent waking during the night
  • Loss of interest in daily activities, a lack of energy and/or loss of sex drive
  • Excessive crying and/or thoughts of suicide
  • Restlessness, agitation and irritability
  • Headaches and nausea
  • Persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness

Read this checklist to determine if depression is affecting you. If depression has made itself at home in your life see a Student Counsellor or your doctor.

If any of this seems familiar or seems that it could apply to you then it may be appropriate to consider speaking with someone confidentially who can provide professional advice.  A counsellor or GP are two such people who can provide this service.

Facts

  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience depression during their life
  • Factors such as ethnicity, education and income have no bearing on a person’s likelihood to be depressed
  • Depression can occur at any stage in life

Regardless of whether you have ever experienced symptoms of depression, it is important to remember to always look after your mind as well as your body by adopting a healthier lifestyle including regular exercise, a healthy eating plan, learning to reduce your stress levels and relaxing. This is different for everybody. You may watch TV or read a book, go for a walk, see a movie or have a bath.  Others find slow breathing or remedial massage beneficial.  Spending time with family and friends is also beneficial.

Causes

There are many factors that can impact on the development of depression and can include:

  • Biological – genetic predisposition, a person is more likely to develop depression if immediate family members have had depression
  • Psychological – control, stress, self-esteem, loss
  • Social – expectations, conflict
  • Lifestyle – major life changes, medical illness/treatment, eating habits
  • Physical - ongoing discomfort from an injury or health condition can result in chronic pain, this often results in feelings of distress that can develop into depression.

Helping someone whom you think may be depressed

  • Let the person know that you care
  • Be supportive and encourage the person to get help.
  • Be available to the person at times of distress as someone who can listen.  It is not necessary to focus on their depression but simply to continue to be there friend.
  • Look after yourself.  Remember that you are not responsible for the other person’s mental health and remember to continue to enjoy your life.

For further information we recommend the Centre for Clinical Interventions Back from the Bluez InfoPax, which you can work through with a Student Counsellor.

Student Counselling also facilitates group based therapy to assist in managing depression.