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Depression and feeling sad

Many young people feel sad or down from time to time when life seems really hard and you feel no one understands you - it’s normal to feel like this sometimes. If you feel the sad thoughts and feelings are stopping you from being happy, enjoying your life, or that life isn’t worth living, then it might help to talk to someone who can listen to you and understand what you're going through.

DepressionTalking about how you are feeling

Some adults don’t realise that children and young people get just as upset and sad as they do. This can make it hard to get adults to listen and take you seriously when you are feeling down. Talking to ChildLine about how you feel can help to start dealing with these difficult feelings.

What exactly is depression?
People sometimes say they are feeling depressed when they are having a bad day and you might even say that you are feeling like that yourself, but ‘depression’ is actually an illness that can affect people’s lives completely and is diagnosed by a doctor.

It’s more serious than just the ‘down’ feeling that you may feel sometimes if you’ve had a bad day. Young people can suffer from depression just
as adults do.

I think I'm depressed, how can
I get help?

If you think you are depressed you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible. If you are scared about going on your own, you could ask a friend, or your parent or carer to go with you. Your doctor will be able to find out if you have depression and talk you through the types of treatments that are available.

Whether you feel sad, are dealing with depression or are self-harming, ChildLine is always here for you to talk to and can help you find ways of coping. Please call us or talk to us online. We are here to listen and can put you in touch with other organisations in your area who can help to support you through difficult times.

What are the symptoms of depression?


Many signs or symptoms of depression are just the same as when you feel down or sad. If they continue for a long time, or get worse, the it might be time to talk to someone and tell them how you feel. Things that may mean you have depression are:

Feeling depressed• Feeling sad or anxious most of the time.
• Not enjoying things that you used to enjoy.
• Tiredness or low energy, even when you have rested.
• Not eating much or overeating.
• Problems sleeping.
• Feelings of worthlessness.
• Feelings of guilt.
• Mood swings.
• Aches or pains that have no obvious cause.
• Negative thoughts and feelings.
• Not wanting to see people or go out.

If you have some or all of these symptoms, you should speak to someone. 

You can always talk to ChildLine and we can help you find support 
if you are feeling like this.

  • What can I do if I’m feeling down?

    It can seem like the hardest thing to do, but talking to someone about how you feel, whether it's a friend, relative, parent, carer or trusted person means that you are starting to deal with your feelings. If you keep your feelings to yourself, you can start to feel lonely and as though you have to cope with everything on your own. If you don’t have anyone you feel that you can talk to, you can contact ChildLine at any time.

  • How can depression affect you?

    Depression affects people in different ways. It can often have physical symptoms like feeling tired or, eating less or more than usual. You might also feel helpless, numb, restless, anxious, tearful, have difficulty concentrating or feel negative about everything and think you will never feel OK again. 

    Some people who experience severe depression might feel so bad about themselves and their life that they think that the only way out is to kill themselves. If you are thinking about ending your life or are worried about one of your friends, you are not alone and there is help for you, please call us or talk to someone you trust about it. Read more about suicide.

    Feeling depressed can be a very distressing time and some people start to self-harm by cutting themselves, taking drugs, drinking a lot of alcohol or deliberately putting themselves in risky situations. It's really important to get help if you're doing this, you can find out more about this on our self-harm page.

    Many young people experience difficulties with eating food at some time in their lives. When some people become depressed they find they also start to have problems with eating and might starve themselves, overeat, vomit or using laxatives to lose weight after overeating. If you are worried you might have a problem with eating you can find out how to get help on our eating problems page

  • How is depression caused?

    Depression can be triggered by lots of different things, such as: bullying, sexual abuse, assault, the death of a loved one, drug problems, exam stress, worries about sexuality. If someone in your family has, or has had depression, you may be more likely to develop depression, but only in certain situations, like the one mentioned above. This doesn’t mean that you definitely will develop depression and there's lots you can do to treat depression. Sometimes there is no obvious reason for feeling depressed and it doesn’t have to be caused by anything that has happened or is happening to you.

  • What do I do if I think I’m depressed?

    If you think that you are depressed you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible. If you are scared about going on your own, you could ask a friend or your parent/carer to go with you. Your doctor will be able to find out if you have depression and will help you decide about treatment.

    Whether you feel sad, are dealing with depression or are self-harming, ChildLine is always here for you to talk to and can help find ways of coping.  Please call us or talk to us online . We are here to listen and can put you in touch with other organisations in your area who can help to support you through difficult times.

  • Where can I find out more about depression?

    Samaritans 08457 909090   www.samaritans.org
    Young Minds 0207 3368445 www.youngminds.org.uk
    Beat (eating problems) 0845 634 7650  www.b-eat.co.uk
    NHS Choices     www.nhs.uk

Call ChildLine

You can call ChildLine at any time on 0800 1111 to speak to a counsellor. Calls are free and confidential.

Call ChildLine

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Depression and feeling sad 

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