If you believe that you or someone you know may be suffering from depression or have suicidal thoughts, you can learn more by clicking on the links below.
Mind Your Head is your link to help and a happier life. A qualified counsellor can talk to you about issues you may be experiencing and help you implement strategies to be happy and healthy again.
You can find a qualified Counsellor in your vicinity here: Counsellor Search
If you are experiencing overwhelming feelings of grief, pain, loss, anxiety or having thoughts of ending your life, please call the Lifeline Crisis Line immediately.
Lifeline Crisis Support
13 11 14
Do these two statements describe you?
If you say “yes” to these, read on. Are you experiencing any of the following?
Together with anxiety, depression is the most common form of mental health issue experienced by our communities. A survey found that 3.2 million Australians, or about 20 percent of the adult population, had experienced symptoms of a mental disorder in the 12 months before the survey. The lifetime risk of developing depression is 12 percent for men and 25 percent for women (Australian Institute of Welfare and Health, 2010; Black Dog Institute, 2007).
When psychologists and other mental health experts talk about someone being “depressed”, they don’t just mean that the person is having a bad day today. Rather, they are referring to a low mood and loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities that has persisted for at least two weeks. Depression can range from a mild case, in which you may experience as few as two of the symptoms we listed on the other screen, to a severe bout, in which you would experience at least four or five of the features listed. With mild depression, you probably would be able to carry on your normal duties, although the depression would make it harder. As depression becomes worse, carrying on normal routines becomes increasingly difficult. If you become severely depressed, you will show considerable distress and not be able to function normally at all.
There are several different types of depression from which you could be suffering. If your depression is mild but has been going for two years, a mental health professional might describe it as “dysthymia”. A depression of shorter duration (say, at least two weeks but possibly longer) might be referred to as a “major depressive disorder” (even if it is mild). These two sorts probably account for the majority of cases, but there are also specialised forms of depression.
Some women experience “post-partum depression” after giving birth due to a combination of hormonal changes and the need to adjust to the new responsibilities of caring for the baby. In regions such as Scandinavia where there is little light during the winter months, people can develop SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, where the lack of sunlight makes them want to sleep too much and eat too many carbohydrates. People who lose contact with reality during their depression might have psychotic depression; some of these believe that they are being persecuted. Bipolar disorder used to be called “manic depression” and is a form in which periods of low mood alternate with periods of mania, where the person seems to have limitless energy, talks fast, has difficulty focusing, and does unwise things (like spend up to the credit card limits). “Melancholia” refers to a type of depression in which the person might awaken early, lose weight, become slow in movements, and feel guilty; melancholia is different from normal sadness.
Depression and also anxiety can be triggered by such things as financial problems, relational hassles, having physical health issues, sleep difficulties, changing or losing jobs, changing living arrangements, changes in body chemistry, and using alcohol or drugs. Fortunately, depression can be treated successfully, usually with some combination of anti-depressant drugs, behaviour therapy to identify and change limiting patterns of thought (CBT), psychotherapy, and lifestyle interventions. Examples of lifestyle interventions would be bibliotherapy, exercise, activity scheduling, light therapy, and computer interventions (adapted from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors course, Supporting Those with Depression or Anxiety, 2012).
Use the search form below to find a counsellor who can help you with depression.
Mind Your Head is an initiative of the Australian Counselling Association, a national professional association for qualified Counsellors.