What is depression?

Recognising the signs and symptoms of depression

Depression can be the result of a stressful, emotional or traumatic situations, work or financial worries, redundancy, bullying, bereavement, illness, or the build-up of lots of things over time.


Changing hormones can affect our mood in adolescence, during the menstrual cycle, menopause and during and after pregnancy. Post-natal depression can occur in the weeks after having a losing baby, while some people feel low during winter months with less sunlight, a depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).


Some people experience extreme ‘highs’ in between their lows, a mental health condition known as bipolar. It’s thought our genes can also play a part in depression and people may be more vulnerable to depression if there is a family history of the illness.

What are the symptoms of depression?

Depression can make you feel sad, tired, hopeless, guilty or that life is not worth living. You may find it difficult to sleep, have low self-esteem, lose your appetite, turn to food as a comfort, or neglect yourself.

The symptoms of depression can come on gradually and it can be easy to blame yourself for not being able to ‘think positive,’ or unable to ‘pull yourself together’ or find joy in situations and relationships with other people that usually make you feel happy.

Help and support with depression

If you are struggling with depression, seek advice from your GP. They may prescribe medication, or suggest a talking treatment such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, to help you address and cope with situations that can trigger a depression.

Peer support from other people who’ve experienced depression may help you feel less isolated and anxious about what you are going through.

If you’re struggling with depression or feel alone, you can turn to us. You don’t need a diagnosis, referral or appointment to access mental wellbeing support and friendship at Make a Difference.

Moodgym for depression 

If you're struggling with depression, you may find Moodgym a helpful support. It's an interactive programme created to help improve your emotional wellbeing. Make a Difference can help you to access it for free.

Make a Difference offers free access to Moodgym, an interactive Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) coaching programme to help people manage symptoms of depression and anxiety. Drop into Trident House to find out more about Moodgym and for a free token to begin the programme online.