Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Male users

I was wondering how many boys talk to childline about anxiety or depression. I know lots of girls who are outspoken about their own depression but never boys. The only boy I know who has experienced any form of depression is myself. I'm worried that being depressed is abnormal for a man. I suppose it could be a bravado thing. I've certainly never told anyone at school about my experience. So my question is how often do boys contact childline about depression? Is is normal for boys to get depressed?
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Depression can affect anyone no matter what their gender. It sounds difficult to feel as though you are the only boy feeling depressed right now. But you are not the only boy going through depression. Lots of people, both boys and girls, experience depression.

It is certainly not abnormal for men to experience sadness and depression. ChildLine hears from lots of boys every day talking about their feelings of low mood or their struggles with depression.

You have been finding it hard to open up to anyone at school about your feelings. There might be other boys around you feeling the same way. You wouldn’t know if everyone kept it to themselves.

It’s unfortunate but true that many boys think they have to keep emotions locked up and can’t be seen to have feelings, especially ones like sadness, fear and depression. There are stereotypes for both boys and girls. One of the stereotypes for boys is often that they need to “be a man” and that they should “man up” and not show emotion. I think this is wrong.

You could write a post on the ChildLine message boards, encouraging other boys to talk about their feelings on your thread. Sometimes sharing experiences can help people to feel less alone and it sounds like you would find it helpful to ask for support from other boys.

You don’t have to cope with this feeling alone so if there are any adults around you that you could reach out to for help, it could be a good place to start. We have a page with some ideas that can help you think asking an adult for help.

It's important to remember that only a doctor can diagnose depression. Young people can speak to their doctors confidentially from age 16. Here is more information about visiting your doctor.

Hope some of this helps.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

Write me a letter