This information guide is intended for people with mild-to-moderate symptoms.  If you, or someone you know, needs support with mental health problems, in the first instance you should contact your GP. If required, your GP can then refer you to Mental Health Services in your local areas. If you need help for a mental health crisis or emergency, you should get immediate expert advice and assessment. It is important to know that support is available.


If you, or someone you know, needs urgent help or is in crisis, call NHS 24 on 111. If you just need to talk with someone, there is help available. The Samaritans are there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call them on 116 123 (freephone) or email: jo@samaritans.org. Breathing Space offers a confidential phone line for anyone in Scotland feeling low, anxious or depressed. You can call free on 0800 83 85 87.

What is Depression?

Everyone has spells of feeling down, it’s a normal part of life, but depression is more than just spending a few days feeling sad or unhappy. Depression can make you feel persistently sad and down for weeks or months at a time.

While some people believe that depression is trivial or not a genuine health problem, it's actually a real condition that affects around 1 in 10 people over the course of their lives. It impacts people of all genders, ages, and backgrounds.

Depression is not a sign of weakness or something you can "snap out of" by "pulling yourself together". But with the right support and treatment, most people recover fully from depression.

This video from the World Health Organisation explores depression and how it feels.


Types of Depression

There are different types of depression, and there are some conditions where depression is a symptom. These conditions include:

Clinical Depression

This is the formal name that doctors give depression when they make a diagnosis. They may say that you’re going through a ‘mild’, ‘moderate’ or ‘severe’ episode.

Chronic Depression

This is when you are experiencing continuous mild depression that lasts for over 2 years. Also sometimes called persistent depressive disorder or dysthymia.

Manic Depression

Manic depression is the name doctors used to use for bipolar disorder. It is not the same illness as depression, but people with bipolar disorder experience periods of depression as well as periods of extreme highs.

Psychotic Depression

If you experience a severe episode of depression, you may get hallucinations or delusions. These symptoms are called psychosis. A hallucination means you might hear, see, smell, taste or feel things that aren’t real. A delusion means that you might believe things that don’t match reality.

Prenatal or Postnatal Depression

Prenatal depression occurs during pregnancy, it may also be called antenatal depression.

Postnatal depression occurs after becoming a parent. It can affect both men and women.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

If you have SAD, you’ll experience depression during particular seasons, or because of certain types of weather. You might find that your mood or energy levels drop when it gets colder or warmer or notice changes in your sleeping or eating patterns.

It will affect you at the same time of year every year. It’s most common during the winter.

Symptoms of Depression

Do I have symptoms of depression?

  • Are you often low for most of the day?
  • Are you less motivated to do things you’d usually enjoy?
  • Do you often feel weepy or irritable?
  • Do you feel worthless?

If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, you might have symptoms of depression.

Other Symptoms

Thoughts you might have:

  • "No one likes me"
  • "I’m useless"
  • "I’m a failure"
  • "Things will never change"
  • "I just want to die"
  • "I can’t go on like this"

Feelings you might have:

  • Sad
  • Irritable
  • Lonely
  • Empty
  • No interest
  • No pleasure

Things you might do:

  • Stop doing things you enjoy
  • Cry more easily
  • Spend more time alone
  • Stay in bed a lot
  • Wake up very early in the morning and then can’t get back to sleep

How your body might feel:

  • Can’t concentrate
  • Trouble remembering things
  • Never hungry, or always hungry
  • Exhausted
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Not interested in sex

You can learn more about the signs and symptoms of depression by visiting NHS Inform.

Causes of Depression

People can feel depressed for lots of reasons – or you might not know what the reason is right now.


  • Negative thoughts about yourself, other people and the world
  • Early life experiences


Difficult experiences like:

  • losing a loved one
  • being bullied
  • relationship problems
  • job loss


If a parent or close relative has experienced depression, there could be more of a chance that you'll experience depression yourself.

You can learn more about the signs and symptoms of depression by visiting NHS Inform.

Self-Care for Depression

Taking care of yourself is an important step for managing depression. It might feel hard to start talking about how you are feeling, but many people find that just sharing their experiences can help them feel better. It may be that just having someone listen to you and show they care can help in itself.

Top Tips

  • Start a routine, don’t avoid things and think of what makes your mood better and worse. You can also learn to challenge the way you speak to yourself. Start with reading the Wellbeing Tip Card on Coping with Depression.
  • Spend time with family and friends. Talk about your feelings to a friend or family member. You can also contact free helplines such as: Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87 or Samaritans on 116 123. If you would rather get support via text messaging, you can text Shout for free on 85258. Two people sat together at a table talking to each other
  • You can try peer support. Join Side by Side, Mind's supportive online community.
  • Think about your diet. Eating regularly can make a difference to your mood and energy levels. See Mind’s food and mood.

Self-Help Resources

Self-Help Guides

NHS Inform Depression Self-Help Guide

Wellbeing Glasgow Experiencing Low Mood Booklet

Self-Help Websites

NHS Inform Self-Help resources can help you gain a better understanding of low mood and learn new ways to improve your symptoms.

Wellbeing Glasgow offer information to support you to manage how you feel, change the way that you think about some things and improve your mood.

Get Self-Help help you to make sense of depression and learn how to make positive changes.

NHS Every Mind Matters offers a free Wellbeing Plan. Just answer 5 questions to get your free plan with tips to help you deal with stress and anxiety, improve your sleep, boost your mood and feel more in control.

Citizens Advice Scotland offer advice about benefits, debt problems, legal issues and local services. The Citizens Advice Bureau website has a directory listing its local offices.

Get Active is a great place to start if you are looking to become more active or increase your physical activity. They have a list of options to help you identify classes and activities offered throughout Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

Mind 2 Mind shares other peoples stories with managing depression.

Free Courses

NHS GG&C Mindfulness app contains links to free online courses (Online Courses (nhsggc.org.uk) and notification of upcoming free summits Upcoming Events (nhsggc.org.uk). They also provide a range of other resources Resources (nhsggc.org.uk) and practices Guided Practices (nhsggc.org.uk).

Lifelink offer a variety of free online courses such as Improving Motivation, Building Confidence and Boosting Self-Esteem. Each 2-hour class is delivered experienced facilitators. Participants with a Glasgow postcode can attend as many classes as they like. You can register directly for these classes without the need for any pre-assessment.

Living Life to the Full offer a course to help you learn new skills and tackle problems in your life that may be causing you to feel low, worried or hopeless.

Get Support Now A life buoy at sea

Some people find that talking with friends and family about their feelings can be a real source of support for coping with distress or suicidal thoughts. It might be helpful for them to map their support network and think about people they could call if their feeling suicidal. Other people may prefer to seek more professional support or call a helpline such as Breathing Space, Samaritans or Shout.

  • Breathing Space: Call 0800 83 85 87
  • Samaritans: Call 116 123
  • SHOUT Crisis Text service also available 24/7 Text SHOUT to 85258

For some people they may be finding it difficult to cope and may think of ending their life, if you are concerned about your mental health and wellbeing, you can contact your G.P. within opening hours. If you feel you are in immediate danger, please call 999 for assistance.

Last reviewed: 17/11/2023

Next review date: 15/03/2024

Approved By: NHSGGC MH Supported Self-Management App Editorial Group

Reviewer name(s): NHSGGC MH Supported Self-Management App Editorial Group .