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Depression or low mood

Everyone feels low or down from time to time. It does not always mean something is wrong. Feeling low is common after distressing events or major life changes, but sometimes periods of low mood happen for no obvious reason.

You may feel tired, lacking confidence, frustrated, angry and worried. But a low mood will often pass after a couple of days or weeks – and there are some easy things you can try and small changes you can make that will usually help improve your mood.

Depression is a low mood that is persistent and lasts for months rather than a few days. It impacts on everyday life. It can make things harder to do and make things seem pointless. There are lots of self-help techniques you can try that we have listed on this page, but if these feelings still aren’t going away, it may be time to get further help.

More information about depression or low mood

Signs of depression or low mood

Some of the symptoms you may have include:

  • Not wanting to do things that you previously enjoyed

  • Avoiding friends or social situations

  • Sleeping more or less than normal

  • Eating more or less than normal

  • Feeling irritable, miserable or upset

  • Being self-critical

  • Feeling hopeless

  • May want to self-harm

  • Feeling tired and not having any energy

What causes depression or low mood

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

  • bullying

  • sexual abuse

  • assault or physical abuse

  • the death of someone you love

  • drug problems

  • exam stress

  • worries about sexuality

Sometimes there's no obvious reason for feeling depressed, and you may even wonder why you are feeling this way as there’s nothing obvious causing it – that’s ok and many people experience depression in this way. Talking about this to your doctor can help identify the best next steps to take to help you.

Also remember that going through anything mentioned in the list above doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll definitely develop depression.

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Useful apps

  • 7 cups is a free anonymous emotional support and counselling from trained active listeners.

  • WellMind is a free NHS mental health and wellbeing app designed to help you with stress, anxiety and depression. The app includes advice, tips and tools to improve your mental health and boost your wellbeing.

  • SilverCloud is an online course to help you manage stress, anxiety and depression.

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Useful books

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Useful videos

Watch videos in our depression or low mood playlist on our YouTube channel.

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Games

However you're feeling, it can be great to express yourself and do things you enjoy. Take your mind off things with games, finding new ways to handle your emotions.

Self-help materials

  • Centre for Clinical Interventions - Self-help resources for mental health problems

  • Get Self Help - This website provides CBT self-help and therapy resources, including worksheets and information sheets and self-help mp3s

  • HeadMeds - Gives general information about medication. HeadMeds does not give medical advice.

  • Health and Social Care Board - Choice and Medication leaflets are designed to help service users, carers and family members understand their medicines better, and to make more informed decisions, best as part of a discussion with a healthcare professional.

  • NHS Northumberland, Tyne & Wear - Self-help leaflets.

  • onyourmindglos - Helpful guides about emotional health

  • Psychology Tools - Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Worksheets, Handouts, And Self-Help Resources.

  • Student against depression - Self-help section and guidance about what to do when feeling stressed, anxious, can’t sleep etc.

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Get more support

Childline - Information and advice

Depression Alliance - Depression Alliance brings people together to end the loneliness and isolation of depression. They also campaign to end the stigma of depression and to raise awareness of what it means to live with it.

Kooth - Free, safe and anonymous online support for young people, accredited counsellors for mental health needs

Stemming Teenage Mental Illness - Advice and guidance

The Mix - online group chat/discussion boards supporting children and young people with a variety of mental health issues

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