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Sadness and Depression

Depression is probably a word you have heard of a lot. It is often used to describe feelings of extreme sadness, hopelessness or loss.

‘Am I Sad or Depressed?’

depressionIt's really helpful to remember that not everyone experiences life and all of its ups and downs in the same way. Something that might make one person feel very sad for a few weeks, may make another person feel sad for a few months or even longer. It is important to remember that it's normal to feel sad when sad things happen to you or around you.

Young people can be affected by sadness because of lots of different things, from not winning at sports to losing a friend in an accident.

However, the following symptoms, continuing over time, may indicate that what you are experiencing is more than normal sadness:

  • Feeling anxious and/or empty inside
  • Having difficulty with sleep or having difficulty staying awake
  • Not feeling like eating
  • Not feeling like showering or washing
  • Feeling irritable or annoyed by the things people do and say
  • Finding things that you used to like, boring or pointless
  • Having thoughts of wanting to hurt yourself and/or wanting to die

These are all things that a professional can help you with, and would want to know more about when you contact them. If you have a number of the symptoms above, it is really important to talk with someone and seek help. Depression is an illness and won't just go away without help and support.

Remember, feeling sad or being depressed is not a sign of weakness or failure - many young people experience these feelings and have found counselling to be a lot of help.

How can I understand what's going on?

Sometimes people can feel extremely sad or upset without really understanding what's made them feel this way. It could be that something has happened in your life that you feel scared or ashamed to talk, or even think about.

When you're not sure it's best to talk with someone and get it checked out.

If you, or someone you know, has been feeling down for a period of time and don't know why, it's really important to talk to a counsellor.

There are different forms of depression which can occur for different reasons. If you want more information on the types of depression and other resources, you can visit the sites below:

Getting help

Whether your feelings are sadness or have the intensity of depression, remember it's a very personal experience. There are lots of services and individuals that can help you to understand what you are feeling and develop ways of coping. Speaking to a professional can help you work out what kind of support or treatment is going to help with what you are going through.

Some places to get help are:

  • Kids Helpline
  • a doctor or psychiatrist
  • your school counsellor/ university counsellor
  • a private counsellor or psychologist
  • a community health nurse

Depression is a really difficult thing to manage all on your own and it is important to get extra support. Remember - it's OK to ask for help!

If you are feeling depressed or are concerned about someone you know who seems depressed, you can call Kids Helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 55 1800 or use our web or email counselling services.

Updated: 18 July 2011