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More than a case of the ‘blues’

All Areas > Health & Beauty > Medical Health

Author: Kirsty Lilley, Posted: Friday, 24th May 2024, 09:00

We have made good progress in understanding mental health difficulties and reducing the associated stigma. However, recent public and political discourse has highlighted that we still have a long way to go in developing a holistic and compassionate stance towards those who experience mental ill health.

Whilst we all experience periods of low mood, depression is a mental health condition which involves a persistent low mood, loss of enjoyment in previously enjoyed activities, and a variety of physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms.

Depression is experienced on a continuum, ranging from mild to moderate to severe, and many people will experience a loss of being able to function in their daily life as they previously did. Early intervention is key and speaking to someone you trust about how you are feeling is a good place to start.


There are many theories about the causes of depression. Research suggests there is unlikely to be a singular cause and each person will experience the condition uniquely. Here are some of the most common causes:
Adverse childhood experiences
Distressing life events
Physical health problems
Recreational drug/alcohol use

Whilst it is often posited as a chemical imbalance, the evidence for this has proved to be weak. Anti-depressants do change brain chemistry, but it is unclear whether this corrects a previous imbalance. It is important not to stop taking anti-depressant medication without proper guidance from your GP.


These will vary between individuals, but some of the most common are:
Persistent low mood for two weeks or more
Restless, agitated or irritable
Empty or numb
Fatigue and sleep difficulties
Avoidance of social events
Self-harming or suicidal behaviour.
Physical aches and pains with no obvious cause

It is common to experience depression and anxiety together – they can sometimes feed off one another. For further insight, please look at the Mind website: www.mind.org.uk

Depression can interfere with your ability to function on a daily basis, which adds stress to an already difficult experience. It may be difficult to talk about how you feel or to make sense of things alone. The above website will help point you in the right direction for further support.

It is also a helpful resource if you are supporting someone who is experiencing depression. Remembering to look after your own mental health is vital if you are to have the capacity to care for someone else who is struggling.


There are ways to help yourself through periods of mild depression, and the NHS website is a reliable source of information. Your GP may also direct you to guided self-help programmes or structured activity programmes. Talking therapies and counselling are proven to be highly effective. You can refer yourself through the NHS website: www.nhs.uk

If the depression is moderate or severe, medication may be needed and can be helpful. It is important to discuss your options fully with your GP or health care provider.

Reach out for help as early as possible.

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