What is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder. People with depression often feel sad or empty. They might find it hard to be interested in things or find little pleasure in activities. They might lack the motivation to get things done, struggle with sleep, or feel low on energy. They might also have suicidal thoughts. These symptoms can be very distressing.


Depression can also affect your:

  • Physical health – for example, depression can be related to cardio-vascular disease
  • Ability to make good decisions – the impact of this can further lower your mood
  • Concentration at work, school, etc. and this can affect performance
  • Relationships – you might be irritable or angry, or you might find it hard to be around others which can lead to social isolation

What causes depression?

There is no ONE thing that causes depression. Everyone’s pathway to depression is different and typically, a combination of factors contribute to this mood disorder. Some factors might include:

  • Your genetics
  • Biochemical imbalance
  • Stressors – whether psychological or social, negative life experiences or trauma
  • Unhelpful thinking styles
  • Cultural or family influences

How is depression treated?

Anti-depressants can be an effective treatment for some people, however, they can be associated with a higher rate of relapse when compared to other treatments.

Psychological therapy that is based on scientifically proven approaches such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) has also been shown to be effective for depression. Qualified Psychologists trained in these methods focus on teaching skills to assist in overcoming depression. Skills might include effective coping strategies, and learning how to respond to unhelpful thoughts in more positive ways. Therapy might also focus on problem solving skills, goal setting or other techniques tailored to suit the individual’s specific needs.

When should you seek help?

  • If you’re having suicidal thoughts, it’s important seek immediate help
  • If you’re feeling hopeless, overwhelmed, or just ‘stuck’
  • If you’re lacking support, or you need to make life changing decisions (depression affects decision making), or you have no clear sense of direction
  • If your low mood is affecting those around you. When we’re depressed, we’re often difficult to be around. We can be critical or irritable and this can negatively impact those we love.

A trained therapist can help you towards your recovery. However, if you need urgent assistance please contact the organisations below.

Urgent Help / Crisis Support

In the event of significant symptoms or suicidal thoughts, please contact the crisis support options below.

  • Lifeline – 24 hour counselling, suicide prevention and mental health support support. Phone: 13 11 14.
  • Beyond Blue – 24 hour telephone support and online chat service. Phone: 1300 224 636.
  • MensLine – 24 hour professional telephone counselling support for Australian men. Phone: 1300 789 978
  • Kids Helpline – 24 hour telephone and online counselling for young people aged 5-25. Phone: 1800 551 800
  • e-headspace – online counselling for young people aged 12-25 years.