It’s normal to experience problems and unhappiness at times. Different experiences can trigger temporary feelings of worthlessness, disappointment, sadness and self-blame; these feelings are normal and they usually pass after a short time.

Depression becomes an illness when these feelings last for several weeks, are severe and interfere with functioning in your day-to-day life. Depression has been reported by the World Health Organization as one of the leading contributors to the global burden of disease and will soon be the leading cause of disability.

Depression can change your old positive behaviours into new negative behaviours, however, it’s important to know there’s help available. It’s important to seek help as soon as you feel these symptoms progressing as depression can often recur.

Signs and symptoms

Diagnosis for depression requires a number of symptoms to be present. These symptoms may include, but are not limited to:

  • Unusually sad mood most of the day and nearly every day. This sad mood is often observed by others.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities.
  • Loss of energy
  • Anger/irritability
  • Reckless behaviour
  • Change in eating and appetite
  • Increased sleep or loss of sleep
  • Reoccurring thoughts of death – suicidal thoughts
  • Withdrawing from daily activities and social connections

Other factors can contribute to the prevalence of depression. People who suffer from depression may be predisposed because of some of the following factors:

  • Family history
  • Previous periods of depression
  • Stress
  • Other medical/mental health conditions
  • Lack of sunlight during the winter months
  • Substance dependence/abuse


Treatment options can include medication and counselling. These treatments can be combined with small lifestyle changes like exercising regularly and healthy eating. Early intervention is critical as 70% of people who have one major depressive episode, will suffer from another episode.

Seeking help for depression can help prevent another episode and can give you the proper support you need to manage your depression.