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Living with Depression

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Depression in Children and Young People

The Facts

What is depression?

The following summary of the symptoms of depression is taken from NHS Choices:

‘Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days … when you’re depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days.

‘Depression affects people in different ways and can cause a wide variety of symptoms. They range from lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful. Many people with depression also have symptoms of anxiety. There can be physical symptoms too, such as feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly, having no appetite … and various aches and pains.

‘Sometimes there’s a trigger for depression … People with a family history of depression are more likely to experience it themselves. But you can also become depressed for no obvious reason.’


Depression statistics

  • Nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from depression in the UK (Young Minds)
  • Depression affects 0.2% of 5-10 year olds and 1.4% of 11-16 year olds (SafeSpot)
  • Rates of depression and anxiety among UK teenagers have risen by 70% in the past 25 years (Independent)


Living with depression

‘When I experience depression symptoms the biggest challenge is often reaching out for help. The idea of feeling like a burden is something that weighs me down so heavily and is often the obstacle between me suffering in silence and opening up to someone.’

‘Having friends who ask if I’m OK, and knowing I can answer with “no, but I will be,” is actually a great help. It’s reassuring to know that people are looking out for me and that they don’t see me as a burden.’


More information

NHS Choices – an overview of clinical depression.

SafeSpot – information on the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of depression.

Rethink Mental Illnessinformation about the signs of depression, and advice on what to do if you think you may have depression.

Young Minds – a guide to the symptoms of depression and finding help if you think you may have depression.



Many people living with a mental illness do not receive the help and support they need. To save lives we need to better understand mental illness in young people.

Show your support by signing our petition to increase government funding for mental illness research in children and young lives.

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