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Depression is more than just feeling a bit down – feeling stressed, irritable, sad, angry, hopeless or empty happens to all of us sometimes. Depression is getting stuck in those feelings for a while, when it doesn't seem like they're going away and they get in the way of relating to people or thinking clearly.

It can be really hard for young people to talk about feeling low or depressed - they might feel as though no one will believe them or they’ll be told it’s just a phase. Depression can be really hard to deal with, but with the right help, a young person can get through it.

It’s really important to check in, and get some extra support if you notice they:

  • Feel sad or down for a long time - weeks or months
  • Don't care about things they used to enjoy
  • Sleep a lot or not enough
  • Lose or gain weight, or have a different appetite for food
  • Can't concentrate
  • Feel tired or low in energy
  • Have unexplained aches and pains
  • Feel guilty, worthless or hopeless about the future
  • Are angrier or more hostile than usual
  • Use drugs and alcohol to cope with their feelings
  • Harm or hurt themselves on purpose
  • Talk about suicide or say they want to die

Let them know there is help available and they don’t have to feel like this.

Help them book an appointment with a doctor, who can refer them to a counsellor. 

SPARX is a new free online therapy that helps young people learn skills to deal with feeling down, depressed or stressed. For more information for young people on depression, including a self-test, and self-help tools and strategies, head to The Lowdown.

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