Signs to look out for
- Feeling ‘down’ for more than two weeks.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities.
- Loss of energy.
- Appetite changes.
- Changing sleep patterns.
- Feelings of worthlessness.
- Thoughts about death.
The term 'depression' is also used by psychologists, psychiatrists and healthcare professionals to describe a number of feelings that we associate with being in low spirits – things like sadness, loneliness, frustration, despair or disappointment.
Sometimes-no matter what we try- a low mood just won’t go away; it could be a sign that something more is going on.
Most of us will experience a time when we feel down, but for some people, the feelings and thoughts associated with depression can start to occur more regularly. On average, 1 in 6 people – 1 in 5 women and 1 in 8 men – will experience depression at some stage of their lives (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2007).
Resources and services
- Lifeline 13 11 14: a 24-hour telephone counselling line for crisis support and suicide prevention. Lifeline also offers a range of self-help resources and an online crisis support chat service available 7pm – 4am, 7 days a week.
- Beyond Blue 1300 224 636: An Australian organisation working to reduce the impact of depression and anxiety in the community by raising awareness and understanding, empowering people to seek help, and supporting recovery, management and resilience.
- Beyond Blue offers an online chat service and a range of self-help resources on their website. Take their one-minute checklist
- Reach Out: Australia’s leading online youth mental health service.
- The Mood Gym: a free online training program that offers assistance in learning cognitive behaviour therapy skills for preventing and coping with depression. The program is available in different languages.
- The Mindspot Clinic 1800 61 44 34: a free telephone and online service for Australians dealing with stress, worry, anxiety, low mood or depression.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Cat. no. (4326.0). Canberra: ABS.