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What is depression?

Everyone experiences moments of sadness, due to life's events.

However, depression is more than feeling sad. It can affect your sleep, your relationships, your job and appetite. Depression can make everyday tasks feel really hard, and life can seem like it has no purpose.

Depression is more common than you may think. One in six people in Aotearoa New Zealand have experienced a period of depression in their life. Remember, depression can affect anyone, and seeking support is a sign of strength, not weakness.

The good news is that with the right treatment and support, most people make a full recovery. The earlier support is given, the better your chances of recovery. It's important to seek help from a GP if you think you may be depressed.

Supporting someone

It can be challenging when friends or family are going through a tough time. You can find more information on how to support someone here.

 If you are in crisis

If you are in crisis, you may feel your world has fallen apart, that nothing makes sense or that you may hurt yourself.

Need help now?

If you are worried about your mental health and need help,  you or your family can call the mental health crisis team on 0800 50 50 50. If you are in danger and need help right now, call 111. Or you can go to your nearest hospital emergency department.

Signs of depression

Depression affects people in different ways. Below are some things you may notice:

In your body (physical signs) 

  • Feeling unable to cope with things that used to come easily to you, like showering or brushing your teeth.

  • Not sleeping well for a long time or sleeping a lot more than usual.

  • Feeling exhausted all the time.

  • Using alcohol or drugs more than usual.

  • Losing interest in things you usually like to do.

  • Losing your appetite.

  • Gaining or losing weight unexpectedly

In your feelings (emotional signs)

  • Feeling sad or upset and not always knowing why.

  • Feeling hopeless or full of dread.

  • Feeling like others do not understand you.

  • Getting frustrated a lot of the time.

  • Feeling bad about yourself or things you have done.

  • Feeling lonely or isolated.

  • Having thoughts of hurting yourself.

  • Having thoughts of not wanting to be here any more.

In the way you act (behavioural signs)

  • Staying away from your usual sources of strength like your church, mosque, temple, family and friends.

  • Wanting to be left alone.

  • Avoiding the people close to you.

  • Picking fights with family and friends.

  • Spending a lot of time alone.

What can I do about depression?

Talk to someone about how you are feeling.

It's important to seek help from a GP if you think you may be depressed.

Many people wait a long time before seeking help for depression, but it's best not to delay. The sooner you see a doctor, the sooner you can start to feel better.

Mental Health Support
Mental Health Information