Depression and feeling sad

It’s normal to feel down sometimes. But if sad thoughts are stopping you from enjoying life, or if you feel like life isn’t worth living, then it can help to talk to someone.

What is depression?

People sometimes say they're feeling depressed when they're having a bad day. But ‘depression’ is actually an illness that can have a big effect on people’s lives. A doctor can help you to find out more about depression. 

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

Depression is a mental health issue. And it’s a bit like a physical illness, because people don’t choose to have depression.

5 things to remember about depression:

  1. having depression or feeling down happens to lots of people
  2. anyone could be affected, whether you’re a girl, boy, young or old
  3. depression can come on at any time
  4. there's lots of things you can do to help you feel better
  5. you never have to face things alone. You can always talk to us when you feel down.

Why do people feel depressed?

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

Sometimes there's no obvious reason for feeling depressed. And going through anything mentioned in the list above doesn’t mean you’ll definitely develop depression. 

feeling...trapped, down

Talk to us about how you're feeling

You can talk to us about anything

It can seem like the hardest thing to do, but talking to someone about how you feel means you're starting to deal with your feelings.

If you keep your feelings to yourself, you can start to feel lonely and like you have to cope with everything on your own. Remember that you can always speak to a counsellor for free on 0800 1111 or on a 1-2-1 counsellor chat.

It could also be really helpful to talk to a friend, relative, teacher, parent or carer.

How depression can affect you

Depression affects people in different ways. It can make it hard to concentrate and lead to you feeling negative about everything and like you'll never feel okay again.

Feeling depressed can be really hard to deal with. Some people start to self-harm by hurting 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. 

It's common for many young people to have problems with food at some time in their lives. When some people become depressed they might find they also start to have problems with eating. They might try to starve themselves, overeat, vomit or use laxatives to lose weight after overeating. If you're worried about anything to do with eating, you can get help on our pages about eating problems.

Some people who experience really serious depression might feel so bad about themselves and their life that they think that the only way out is to kill themselves. If you're having suicidal thoughts or feelings or are worried about one of your friends, you're not alone and there's help for you. Please call a Childline counsellor for free on 0800 1111 or talk to someone you trust about it. 


Feeling depressed, sad or unhappy?

Signs and symptoms of depression

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