Info and events Mental Health Support About Mental Health How depression affects you Many of us have periods when our mood is low, and we’re feeling sad or unhappy about life. These feelings usually pass over time and we get back to being ourselves. Support is also available if you're finding it hard to cope with low mood, sadness or depression. Symptoms of a low mood Symptoms of a general low mood may include feeling: sad anxious or panicky more tired than usual or being unable to sleep angry or frustrated low on confidence or self-esteem A low mood often gets better after a few days or weeks. It's usually possible to improve a low mood by making small changes in your life. For example, resolving something that's bothering you or getting more sleep. Symptoms of depression If you have a low mood that lasts two weeks or more, it could be a sign of depression. Other symptoms of depression may include: not getting any enjoyment out of life feeling hopeless not being able to concentrate on everyday things having suicidal thoughts or thoughts about harming yourself If you're not sure how you feel, try the NHS mood self-assessment. Things you can try to help with a low mood DO Try talking about your feelings to a friend, family member, health professional or counsellor. You could also email: [email protected] if you need someone to talk to Try the Steps to Wellbeing, which are simple lifestyle changes to help you feel more in control and able to cope Find out how to raise your self-esteem Consider peer support, where people use their experiences to help each other. Find out more about peer support on the Extern website DON'T Do not try to do everything at once; set small targets that you can easily achieve Do not focus on the things you cannot change – focus your time and energy into helping yourself feel better Try not to tell yourself that you're alone – most people feel low sometimes and support is available Try not to use alcohol, cigarettes, gambling or drugs to relieve a low mood. These can all contribute to poor mental health Low mood, sadness and depression audio guide In this 10-minute audio guide, Dr Chris Williams talks you through ways to tackle low mood, sadness and depression. Causes of a low mood There are many reasons why you might feel low at some point in your life. Any sort of difficult event or experience could lead to sadness or low self-esteem. Sometimes it's possible to feel low without there being an obvious reason. Identifying the cause If you know what's causing your low mood it might be easier to find ways to manage it. Some examples of things that may cause a low mood include: work – feeling pressure at work, unemployment or retirement family – relationship difficulties, divorce or caring for someone financial problems – unexpected bills or borrowing money health – illness, injury or losing someone (bereavement) Even significant life events such as buying a house, having a baby or planning a wedding could lead to feelings of sadness. You might find it hard to explain to people why you feel this way, but talking to someone could help you find a solution. Conditions related to low mood and depression A table showing conditions related to having a low mood or depression at certain times in your life Symptoms Possible cause feeling low or depressed in a seasonal pattern, usually during winter seasonal affective disorder (SAD) feeling low or depressed after the birth of a child postnatal depression Help bring hope to people who are vulnerable and isolated. Please select a donation amount (required) £20 could help us to provide additional assistance to someone facing mental health illness £25 could help us provide support to someone facing urgent housing crisis £50 could help ensure young people and families in crisis are offered essential supports Other Set up a regular payment Donate See a GP if: you've had a low mood for more than 2 weeks you're struggling to cope with a low mood things you're trying yourself are not helping you would prefer to get a referral from a GP Ask for an urgent GP appointment or call 111 if: you need help urgently, but it's not an emergency 111 can tell you the right place to get help if you need to see someone. Go to 111.nhs.uk or call: 111. Call 999 or go to A&E now if: you or someone you know needs immediate help you have seriously harmed yourself – for example, by taking a drug overdose A mental health emergency should be taken as seriously as a medical emergency.