Depression can happen to anyone. It is more than just feeling low or sad during tough times. Understanding what some signs of depression are and where to go to get help are important. You don't have to face this alone. There is help available.

What is depression?

Depression is a persistent lowering of someone’s mood, which can last for weeks, months or even years. It can interfere with a person’s daily life, making it hard to cope. Understanding and recognising symptoms in ourselves or others are important steps in managing depression. There are many effective ways to treat depression and many individuals go on to leading meaningful and productive lives.

Depression presents differently in different people and it is not always easy to know if someone is experiencing depression. Some common symptoms of depression are listed below. If you are feeling as though you or someone you know is struggling with depression, please contact your GP, and remember Lifeline is available 24/7 on 13 11 14.

  • Feeling sad, ‘flat’ or down most of the time (for two weeks or more)
  • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy (for two weeks or more)
  • Feeling tired or lacking energy and motivation
  • Increased alcohol and drug use
  • Having problems sleeping or sleeping all the time

There isn’t a set way to treat depression – what works for one person may not for another, but there are many ways it can be managedYou don’t have to struggle alone. If your symptoms feel like they are impacting on your ability to manage or they are not going away seek support from a professional such as your GP, or call Lifeline on 13 11 14. 

Finding a treatment that works for you can help to reduce and even eliminate the symptoms of depression. Treatment may include a combination of psychological therapy, medication, and community support. It can be hard reaching out for help but there are a variety of services and supports available. Some suggestions are detailed below. Talk to your doctor about how you’ve been feeling to find the most appropriate treatment for you.  Your doctor will also check your physical health for things that may affect how you are feeling. Your doctor can also refer you to a psychologist or other mental health professional for treatment.  If you have a Medicare card, your doctor can work with you to create a mental health plan which will entitle you to Medicare rebates for up to 10 individual and 10 group appointments with some allied mental health services in a year.  

  1. Reach out and connect to someone you trust — talking to family, friends, a counsellor, religious minister, or a crisis line can help you develop an understanding of your situation and help you move forward. It is important you don’t isolate yourself.
  2. Individual therapy with trained psychologists, psychiatrists, or other health professionals such as counsellors or social workers, can provide a safe space to talk about some of your symptoms and discuss alternative ways of thinking about and managing them. There are a number of evidence-based treatments that can make a difference.
  3. Lifestyle and complementary therapies — there are a number of changes that individuals can make in their lives that can make a difference, especially when the symptoms are mild. These may include exercise, planning pleasant events, or enjoying the outdoors.
  4. Look after yourself — eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. Take time out to relax and do things you used to enjoy, even if you don’t feel like it now as it’s important not to isolate yourself 

        Some people may experience thoughts of suicide when they are feeling depressed. It is critical that if you, or someone you know, is feeling this way that you seek immediate help.  

        It can be very difficult to know what to do and how to cope, but help is available. Below are some places to go for information and support. If life is in danger, please call 000.  

        • My Compass – Online self-help program for people experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of depression 
        • SANE Australia – 1800 18 7236 
        • Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636 
        • Headspace – 1800 650 890 
        • The Black Dog Institute – Depression self-test questionnaire The Black Dog Institute have a depression self-test questionnaire 
        • Contact your GP to arrange an appointment to create a mental health plan with a psychologist. There can be Medicare rebates available for these plans  - Medicare


        For Crisis Support contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24/7) or via text (12pm-midnight AEST) on 0477 13 11 14

        Dr Kieran's Story

        Psychiatrist, Kieran, began his medical training keen to combine his love of academia with his love of caring. However, as he did his rounds of the wards alongside bullying bosses, determined to make him feel foolish, anxiety and depression set in. He often ended his shifts, sitting in his car and sobbing.

        Although he was in the medical profession to help others, Dr Kieran didn’t feel he could ask for help himself and eventually became so depressed, he tried to end his life.

        Fortunately for everyone - especially the patients he treats today - he didn’t succeed and instead uses what he has learned on his journey to provide empathetic care and advice to others. Here, he gifts us with the strategies and techniques he uses to manage his depression.