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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.


Video: Feeling Unhappy, Sad or Depressed | Childline 

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.

Support resources

Self-help materials

  • CAMHS Resources - This site was created for young people, carers and professionals to pool together lots of helpful resources from across the internet that are available to help support mental health and well-being.

  • 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.

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.

  • Smiling Mind is a web and app-based program developed by psychologists and educators to help bring balance to people’s lives.

Useful books


Visit the Young Minds website

Young Minds are a UK charity fighting for children and young people's mental health.

The Young Minds website has lots of really useful information about young people's mental health. Watch videos of real life stories, read blog posts from young people, learn more about mental health and find resources and support.

Explore the Young Minds depression webpage (opens in new window) to find out more about depression and how you can start to manage it. 

Young Minds logo

Further information

Much of the content on this website has been put together using resources sourced from a range of different charities and organisations.

Click on the logos below to go to each organisations website to explore more about mental health. 


Kooth logo Youth Access logo
Togetherall logo Mind logo
Childline logo Papyrus logo
The Mix logo Samaritans logo