Depression advice for friends and family

Depression versus the blues

Depression can be hard to nail down. Some people may say they are “depressed” when in fact they are just down in the dumps. True clinical depression, however, is a completely different kettle of fish. For those who suffer it, life has little meaning. They find it hard to get out of bed in the morning, going to work seems pointless and they are no longer able to see the pleasure in the things they once found enjoyable – feelings that without treatment can drag on for weeks, months and even years. Read more >

Spotting the symptoms

Depression is not a one-size-fits-all condition and although there are common symptoms they can and do vary from person to person. Indeed, if you talk to any two depressed people about their feelings, you might think they were describing two entirely different conditions. Read more >

Establishing the causes

No one really knows what causes low mood and depression. Like symptoms, the reasons vary from person to person and a combination of factors is thought to be involved. Stressful situations such as job loss, losing someone close, or a difficult relationship or childhood are common triggers. Read more >

Are they SAD?

Many of us start to feel a bit blue as summer fades but some of us actually develop a form of depression as the season changes. Known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), it affects up to half a million people in the UK according to the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association (SADA). Read more >

Who can help?

Depression and low mood can be paralysing - sometimes to such a degree that some people find it hard to seek help. Even worse they may start to think that no amount of help could ever help them to feel better. Nothing could be further from the truth. Recognising and accepting that there is a problem, is the first step to getting better. Taking that first step can be the hardest one for someone to take but they need to be reminded that there is plenty of support out there. Read more >


There are several antidepressant drugs available and it can take a while for a doctor to find the right one for a specific patient. It may also take time for the benefits to be felt. Read more >

Helping them to help themselves

If depression is mild, simple self-help measures can usually help. For example, doctors may suggest guided self-help plans. These can take various forms and may include computer-led programmes that are done alone or with the help of a therapist over the telephone. Read more >