Low Mood and Depression

We all have ups and down

Most of us experience ups and downs from time to time. But some of us including young people feel sad, lonely, down, and anxious or stressed for longer periods of time to the extent that it can affect their everyday lives and can prevent that young person from doing things they would normally do.
We are all unhappy from time to time, but low mood / depression is different.


It's OK not to be OK but it is NOT OK to feel this way all the time


What is the difference between low mood and depression?

  • A low mood will tend to improve after a short time. 
  • Making some small changes in your life, such as resolving a difficult situation or talking about your problems and getting more sleep, can improve your mood. 

A low mood that doesn’t go away is known as depression…


A low mood that doesn’t go away is known as depression.
Many difficult events and experiences can leave us in low spirits or cause depression: family problems, bullying, pressures from school, bereavement, illness, and pain being just a few.
Depression isn't the same as stress or anxiety. People will often say "I'm stressed", when what they really mean, is ''I'm feeling down, sad or fed up."

Coping with low mood / depression

  • The most important thing you can do if you think you are feeling depressed is talk to someone.
  • This could be your parents, a sibling, friend, teacher, GP but often talking about how you are feeling can really help you to feel better.
  • People who care about you will want to help you to feel better so don’t feel worried about talking to people.

Things that can help

The problem with low mood and depression is that when people feel depressed they tend to slow down both physically and mentally.
To help you feel better, you need to try and BREAK THE VICIOUS CIRCLE
There is really good evidence to show that a really good way to break the vicious cycle is to start to do more activities. 
Try to get back to the things you enjoy and maybe find new things to do too.

Getting back to activities can:

  • make you feel better!
  • distract you and you may even find there are new things that you enjoy doing!
  • make you feel less tired!
  • make you feel like doing more!
  • improve your ability to think!

It's (almost) all about that brain!

It helps to know a bit about how our brains can affect our feelings and emotions.

For example: 

  • the changes that take place as we grow towards adulthood (they keep on developing until around the age of 25!)
  • the diferent brain chemicals and the amounts we have in our bodies at various times
  • the links between feeling, thoughts and behaviour

More about the brain and feelings


More about feelings 

  • Remember feelings are simply feelings and all feelings are OK. 
  • If feelings feel too much or last a long time, talk to someone. you don't have to do it alone!
  • It really helps if you can recognise different feelings and have words to describe them or 'name' them.
  • If you can recognise and name your feelings you will find it easier to deal with them. 
  • There is a link between feelings, thoughts and behaviour.
  • Your brain can affect your feelings.

Useful links

Understand more about your feelings with the Feelings check-in toolkit

Make your own Wellbeing and Resilience Action Plan

Find out coping ideas in the Wellbeing Toolkit

Self care - ways to wellbeing

Helping a friend

There are simple ways to show you care and let them know you thinking of the them

  • You don't have to talk but you can listen
  • A cup of tea and some biscuits can
  • A quick text or a funny cat video 
  • Remind them they are not alone