Depression is not just a feeling of sadness that lasts for a few days.

When you’re feeling down or fed up for weeks or months at a time – or the sadness starts to affect your day-to-day life – you may be experiencing depression.

It’s important to seek help if you think you may be depressed. Many people wait a long time before seeking help, but the sooner you look for help, the sooner you can be on the way to recovery.

Depression symptoms vary and can be different depending on whether you’re experiencing mild, moderate or severe depression.

Symptoms can include:

  • You regularly feel down, upset, empty or numb
  • You’re often restless and agitated
  • You feel extremely tired, and have unexplained aches and pains
  • You take longer to get to sleep and wake up not feeling refreshed
  • You’ve lost your appetite (or maybe it’s increased)
  • You’ve lost or gained weight
  • You’ve lost interest in hobbies
  • You have no self-confidence

You can find a longer list of symptoms on the NHS website and NAViGO’S Choice and Medication portal.

If your depression is mild, guided self-help programmes may be helpful. You may be directed to computer-based CBT programmes, or online therapy, where you can learn about your condition and work through your feelings.

Other forms of self-help that you may, or may not, find useful include:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Sharing your feelings with someone you trust
  • Keeping a mood diary
  • Eating healthily
  • Spending time in nature

For mild to moderate cases, talking therapies can treat the symptoms of depression successfully. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy and counselling are some options that could be beneficial.

In more severe depression, it might be necessary to use medication to allow you to lead as normal a life as possible. You may be described antidepressants such as SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). You can see a list of medicines we might offer you on our Choice and Medication portal.

If you’re in a mental health crisis and need urgent help, call the Single Point of Access on (01472) 256256 and select option 3. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Alternatively, you can call NHS 111 free from a landline or mobile phone.

Open Minds offers talking therapies to help you cope with the symptoms of depression. You can also sign up to SilverCloud – a computer-based CBT programme. Self-refer to Open Minds online.

Safespace provides instant support if you’re vulnerable and need assistance with your mental health out-of-hours. You can speak to the team using Zoom or by calling in via telephone, between 6pm and 10pm, Monday to Friday.

NHS mood self-assessment: This short questionnaire will help you understand how you’re feeling and signpost you to the most appropriate support. 

Orcha Apps Library: This library lists thousands of NHS-approved health apps by condition, making it quick and easy for you to find support.

Every Mind Matters: This Public Health England campaign shares hints and tips developed with experts and approved by the NHS.