There are many ways of understanding ‘Depression’ and the word itself has taken on a range of meanings, from a diagnostic category to a way of talking about how we are feeling (“I'm feeling a bit depressed today”).
What the different usages seem have in common is that they are describing the human experience of sadness, misery, feeling ‘down’ or whichever expression you prefer to use.
In the world of psychiatry the term ‘Depression’ refers to the kind of sadness that pervades all aspects of life and starts to get in the way of someone's ability to undertake day to day tasks.
There is common misconception that depression is caused by a ‘chemical imbalance’ in the brain.
All aspects of human experience can in some way be related to something going on in our brains but that does not mean that there is something wrong in our chemistry that is causing us to feel depressed. If you brake your arm the pain will register as detectable chemical activity in your brain but it does not mean that your brain is the root cause of the pain. The chemical imbalance idea is often employed in a very misleading, overly simplistic and unhelpful way that suggests there is something inside us like a disease causing sadness.
Any number of the difficulties that life throws at us can contribute to feeling depressed. Bereavements, losses, relationship difficulties and work-related stress are some of the many possible reasons why someone might feel depressed.
There is an overwhelming body of research evidence showing that Depression can be successfully treated with talking therapies.
Therapy for depression
Depression can be approached therapeutically in many different ways. The most suitable approach depends on the individual and their circumstances. The following list provides a few examples of the various ways depression can be tackled.
Therapy can help people who have been depressed for sometime but are struggling to identify why they feel the way they do. This might involve exploring the role of relationships, lifestyle choices, beliefs about themselves and thinking patterns.
Some therapies focus on what might be the underlying causes of depression while others provide a more structured approach that focus on challenging unhelpful thoughts and becoming more active.
If you think you might be struggling with depression and are interested in the idea of talking therapy, check out our Guide to Choosing a Counsellor.
Alternatively register with us and arrange a free consultation with one of Clinical Psychologists. There is no obligation to or pressure to proceed any further. You can start by completing the short form at at the end of this page.
Useful resources and links
Specialist Depression charities/organisations
'The leading charity in the UK for anyone affected by depression, and we can help you meet and chat to others in your local area, join a self help group, and learn more about depression, treatment and recovery.'
information - Online community - Self-help groups - Campaigns
'Promotes mutual support between individuals affected by or at risk from depression, with the aim of encouraging self help, recovery and personal growth.'
Online community - Self-help materials - Articles
'Scotland’s national charity on depression. Action on Depression promotes self-management, recovery and peer support.'
Information - local Resources - campaigns
'Is a way for people affected by depression to meet online and in their local area. It’s free to join and a great way to share support.'
Online community - support groups
'Offering advice, information, guidance and resources to those affected by low mood, depression and suicidal thinking. Alongside clinically-validated information and resources it presents the experiences, strategies and advice of students themselves – after all, who are better placed to speak to their peers about how depression can be overcome.'
Information - Self-help - Resources
Set up by Ruby Wax in order to 'realise Ruby and SANE’s shared vision: to provide a space where people like you can talk openly about mental ill-health and realise you’re not alone. BDT's new home on the SANE website will mean that tribers are but a click away from SANE’s emotional support and services.'
Information - Personal stories - Blogs - Resources
Depression: personal blogs and stories.
PERSONAL STORIES - BLOGS
'Is here to help support and advise any parent who is experiencing a perinatal mental illness. We are also here to inform and guide family members, carers, friends and employers as to how they can support someone who is suffering.'
INFORMATION - LOCAL SUPPORT - HELPLINE
General Mental Health resources
'Provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.'
INFORMATION - ONLINE COMMUNITY - RESOURCES - LOCAL SUPPORT - ADVOCACY - CAMPAIGNS - HELPLINE
'Provide expert, accredited advice and information to everyone affected by mental health problems. Rethink have over 200 mental health services and 150 support groups across England. From psychological therapies and Crisis and Recovery Houses to peer support groups and housing services, we directly help thousands of people every year across England.'
INFORMATION - LOCAL RESOURCES - SUPPORT GROUPS - SUPPORT FOR CARERS - CAMPAIGNS - HELPLINE
'Our knowledge, informed by rigorous research and practical based study, has been pioneering change for more than 60 years and we aren't afraid to challenge the status quo or tackle difficult or under researched issues.'
INFORMATION - RESEARCH
Provide guidance for treatment of depression for NHS services - useful source of information on evidence-based therapies for different diagnoses.
INFORMATION - RESEARCH