At times, everyone feels sad, moody and low about different things, however, for some people they can experience these feelings intensely for weeks, months, or even years, and sometimes without any apparent reason.

Depression is more than just a low mood – it is a serious mental health condition that affects your physical and mental wellbeing.

In any one year, around 1 million Australian adults have depression.
— Australian Bureau of Statistics' National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (2008).

Depression affects how you view yourself, the world, and the future (amongst other things), which can impact your sense of wellbeing and make day-to-day tasks seem like impossible challenges.

Although depression can start following a challenging period or event, such as losing your job, a break-up, ongoing conflict with someone, or financial difficulties, it is not always the case.

Depression can also be caused by other factors, like genetics or a chemical imbalance in the brain, and/or negative thinking patterns. Depression can impact anyone, at any time, despite what is going on in their life. People don’t choose to be depressed in the same way that people don’t choose to have diabetes or a heart condition.

On average, 1 in 6 people – 1 in 5 women and 1 in 8 men – will experience depression at some stage of their lives.
— Australian Bureau of Statistics’ National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (2008).

Experience of depression is different for everybody, however, there are some common indications that one might be experiencing depression (which range from mild to severe). Remember though, depression is a condition that can only be properly diagnosed by a trained health professional.

  • Feeling numb or down for two weeks or longer
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Inability to get pleasure from things
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Negative view of self
  • Low energy or feeling fatigued
  • Feelings worthless, helpless and/or hopeless
  • Suicidal or self-harm thoughts
  • Memory difficulties
  • Difficulty sleeping (increased or decreased sleep – broken sleep – waking up early and not being able to get back to sleep)
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches

Everyone experiences some of these symptoms at different times, although the difference with depression is these symptoms are more severe, more regular, and don’t dissipate with time.

Some people may not meet the criteria for a diagnosis of depression however endure many of the above symptoms that can impact their day-to-day functioning, relationships, jobs, leisure, and engagement in life.

If you or someone that you know needs immediate help and/or are feeling unsafe, call:

Emergency on 000

Lifeline on 13 11 14

Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800

MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978

Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467

Speaking with family and friends is a helpful way to deal with the normal difficulties of life. When it comes to depression, however, things are more complex.

Depression is an illness that often requires support from a trained professional to overcome. Speaking to a trusted family member or friend can be helpful in the interim, but the seriousness and treatability of depression shouldn’t be ignored.

Unfortunately for many sufferers of depression, they don’t realise that depression is affecting them and they subsequently do not seek help. Others may be aware they are suffering, however, do so in silence.

Only 35 per cent of Australians with anxiety and depression access treatment.
— Australian Bureau of Statistics' National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (2008).

The good news for those that are able to acknowledge depression and seek help, is that it is treatable - and for most of those people who seek the right treatment, go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.

The Growth Space utilises an evidence-based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) treatment approach (including problem-solving therapy and behavioural activation) that has been proven to be one of the most effective psychological treatments for depression, delivered by an experienced psychologist.

The most effective psychological treatments for depression are cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), problem-solving therapy, behavioural activation and interpersonal psychotherapy.
— Australian Psychological Society’s Literature review of Evidence-based Psychological Interventions in the Treatment of Mental Disorders (2010)

CBT can create a lasting change that decreases the chance of future depressive episodes. It helps a person change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours which can contribute to depression.

If you are uncertain if you would benefit from therapy to overcome any of the challenges that you may be experiencing, contact us here to make an enquiry, or book a confidential initial appointment to further explore your current circumstances and how therapy could help.