Depression falls under the category of a mood disorder. It can happen to anyone and is different from regular mood changes and feelings about everyday life. Depression, in its more chronic forms, can be a debilitating illness. It can affect all aspects of a person’s life, including relationships with family, friends, work and links to their community.

Depression is still largely misunderstood in our society and carries much stigma for those who experience its symptoms. How many times have you heard someone reference “They just need to snap out of it!”? Unfortunately it’s not that simple and such attitudes create barriers for people to access the support they need.

Depression has been described by many who experience it as “Carrying an unmanageable weight around on your shoulders all day every day, without any energy and feeling constantly tired and sad”.


  • According to the World Health Organisation it is estimated around 280 million people worldwide experience depression making it the most common mental illness.
  • Depression is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders, affecting around 1 in 6 adults in the UK. It is also associated with other mental health issues, such as anxiety, stress and loneliness.
  • Research shows that women are twice as likely to experience depression than men. However, 15% of women receive treatment for depression, compared to only 9% of men.
  • And depression is not just a public health issue. It also presents significant challenges for organisations.


During a depressive episode, a person experiences a depressed mood (feeling sad, irritable, empty). They may feel a loss of pleasure or interest in activities.

A depressive episode is different from regular mood fluctuations. They last most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks.

Other symptoms are also present, which may include:

  • Poor concentration.
  • Feelings of excessive guilt or low self-worth.
  • Hopelessness about the future.
  • Thoughts about dying or suicide.
  • Disrupted sleep.
  • Changes in appetite or weight.
  • Feeling very tired or low in energy.

A depressive episode can be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe depending on the number and severity of symptoms, as well as the impact on the individual’s functioning. 

Royal Society of Psychiatry What does Depression feel like? (


In the UK, a new depression care pathway was implemented by NICE in 2022 and is an important step forward in treating depression. For an overview, please click the following link: Overview | Depression in adults: treatment and management | Guidance | NICE.

For a comprehensive list of treatment options please click: All treatment options from the NHS


Depression UK • Home

APNI – Association for Post-Natal Illness | Post Natal Depression

Support groups – Depression in adults – NHS (