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Depression - when you feel sad most of the time

depression; sadness; feeling; down; lonely; sad; suicide;


What is depression?

  • depressionEveryone has 'bad hair' days when everything seems to go wrong.
  • Everyone has disappointments, when something doesn't work out.
  • Everyone has sad times, when bad things happen - like someone getting very sick or dying.
  • Sometimes feeling sad and low is normal.

 If someone is feeling like this all or most of the time, then it could be depression (say dee-pre-shun). This is the name doctors give to a group of mental illnesses which can cause some people to feel really unhappy about life for most of the time.

If you (or someone you know) feel so depressed that you want to harm yourself, then you need to talk to someone about it right away.

Check out this list

If you, or someone you know has been suffering from some or many of these symptoms for most of the time during the last two weeks, then it is time to talk to a 'trusted adult'.

  • depressionFeeling hopeless with nothing to look forward to.
  • Not interested in anything that you usually enjoy - nothing seems like fun.
  • Feeling tired all the time.
  • Crying and not knowing why.
  • Feeling lonely and that nobody cares about you.
  • Staying away from people you usually enjoy being with. Spending more time alone in your bedroom.
  • Feeling angry or anxious.
  • Feeling empty inside.
  • Wanting to be asleep more than usual, not being able to get to sleep, or waking early and not being able to get back to sleep.
  • Getting a lot of headaches or stomach aches.
  • Not wanting to eat or wanting to eat all the time.
  • Doing silly, dangerous things such as riding a bike in an unsafe way.
  • Starting to try out drugs, alcohol or anything else that you know is bad for your health.
  • Thinking that life is not worth living and thinking about suicide.

Why do some people get depressed

  • depressionSometimes kids are being bullied and don't know how to stop it.
  • Sometimes there is a history of depression in the family. This means that if mum or dad or someone from their families has suffered depression, then you may be more likely to suffer depression too.
  • Sometimes mums get depressed when they have had a baby (this is called postnatal depression.)
  • Sometimes there may be such a long list of bad things happening in their life that people just feel like giving up.

Sometimes it can be really hard to work out why someone is feeling depressed.

What can you do to help someone, or yourself?

No one can get help unless they talk about how they feel.

  • depressionTalk to your trusted adults, like mum, dad, grandma, grandpa, your teacher or the school or youth counsellor.
  • Your doctor may help by suggesting that you talk to a health professional like a clinical psychologist (say s-eye-kol-o-jist) or a psychiatrist (say s-eye-k-eye-a-trist). (Psyche - is the Greek word for soul or mind.) The medicines that can help adults are not good for kids, so your doctor will not prescribe them for you.
  • Carry on doing all the normal things in life, like going to school, going out with friends, doing chores, getting lots of exercise.
  • Get help if something bad is happening at school, eg. bullying.

Helping a friend.

  • Be a good listener if your friend wants to talk about what is making her feel so sad.
  • Offer to go with your friend if she wants you to be with her when she goes to talk to a counsellor or a teacher at school.
  • Hang out with your friend to let her know that you care about her and she isn't all alone.
  • Stay in touch with your friend outside school times.
  • Talk to one of your trusted adults if your friend is talking about doing herself harm.
  • Try to get your friend to join in with your activities.
  • Stick up for your friend if he is being bullied.

Our topic 'Are you a bystander to bullying?' has ideas that may help.

Where you might get help:

  • In Australia, if you are not sure what to do for yourself, or how to help your friend, you can call the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800  
  • You could look at the Headspace website 
  • If you or the person you are worried about are over 12 then check out this website 

What kids say

"My parents split up a few years ago and it was really hard for my dad to get over it. He was so upset that at times he would get angry for no reason. I went and saw a School Counsellor which really helped me with my problems. I was then able to confront my parents and tell them what I wanted in my life.

They came around to the ideas and now I live a normal childhood and it's great. My dad has moved on and is getting married again soon, and I will be there to support him all the way.

I would like to tell everyone that if your parents break up, it's not the end of the world. Because we are still kids, we have all the rest of our lives to live." Renee.

"My uncle had some problems and he started to drink every day, then all day. He lost his job, then he got behind with the bills and he lost his house. He borrowed money from the family but he never paid it back because he spent it all on alcohol. Last year he finally went to talk to a counsellor and he is getting better every day. If you have problems, then you need to get help. Sometimes it is too hard to work things out on your own."

Dr Kim says

Dr KimEven for little kids, life can be stressful at times. Feeling depressed or living with someone who is depressed affects everyone in the friends and family group.

Be kind to the person who is depressed but also be kind to yourself.



Keep healthy by eating and exercising. Keep happy by keeping up with friends and the  activities you enjoy. Make sure that you stay happy yourself, and you will be strong enough to help others.



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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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