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Most people feel miserable now and then, often when something upsetting or stressful is happening such as a relationship break-up, or losing a job. Feeling down in response to difficult situations is pretty normal, and usually the feelings fade over time and you get on with life. But when the feelings of unhappiness are intense and persistent - and they don’t go away even when things improve - this could be depression. The medical term for this is ‘major depressive disorder’.

diagnosis

It’s not easy facing up to the thought that you might be depressed. But it’s important to understand how serious it might be, so you can find a way to deal with it.

Here are a few ways to help determine whether you’re experiencing depression:

  • Explore the signs and symptoms.

  • Take the Self-Test, which can also guide you towards the right treatment option.
  • Call the Depression Helpline (0800 111 757); they can help evaluate your situation.
  • Talk to your doctor – this is the best way to be sure you find the right way through.
Remember, the sooner you take action the better.

you're not alone

  • One in six New Zealanders will experience serious depression, at some time in their life.
  • Approximately one in seven young people in New Zealand will experience a major depressive disorder before the age of 24. The Lowdown website has been created to help youth understand and deal with depression. SPARX helps young people learn skills to deal with feeling down, depressed or stressed.
  • Women have higher rates of depression than men (one in five women, compared with one in eight men, will have depression over their lifetime).
  • Rural men have higher rates of depression than urban men. This page has been developed to help farmers understand and deal with depression.
Other peoples' experiences

it is serious

  • Depression is one of the most common reasons that people are absent from work, or are unable to run a home.
  • The World Health Organisation estimates that by the year 2020, depression will be the second most common cause of ill health and premature death worldwide.
  • Depression is the most common risk factor for suicidal behaviour (it’s estimated that depression increases the risk of suicide by 20 times).

next step

Don’t try to deal with depression on your own - it’s important that you tell someone you trust how you are feeling. This could be someone in your family or whanau, your partner, a friend or a spiritual leader. You can find out more about depression in the next section, to help you decide on the best treatment options for you.

0800 111 757

+ free helpline

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Call the Depression Helpline to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions.

Find other help services

+ self-test

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Wondering where to turn for help? This Self-Test can help you decide.

Take the test