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What helps depression?

A teenage girl talking to a woman in a friendly counsellors office.

Depression turns people inside themselves. It's very hard to talk to anyone about it, and that's part of being depressed. Talking to someone about how we feel, however, is very much the first step out of depression. Talking through all the horrible things going on in our lives is actually part of the mind's natural way of healing itself. The best person to talk to is the person YOU find it easiest to talk to. It might be your best friend, your mum or dad, your cat, teacher, doctor, priest or the lollipop lady - just someone you trust and that you feel will listen to you and understand.

If you don't have anyone close to you that you can discuss your problems with, then do please try your family doctor. If you go to the doctor, they will listen to you talk, and they won't mind if you just cry instead. They can arrange for you to see a counsellor, someone specialized in listening to people with depression, and helping you through it. They may get you to see another doctor called a psychiatrist who knows all about how the mind works and how to make it better when things go wrong. These people are excellent and helpful and can really make a difference to you. The doctor can also give you tablets to lift your mood - but only if the doctor thinks that they will help. Whatever you say to the doctor will stay completely private. They will only tell someone else about it if you want them to, or if they think you're seriously close to harming yourself.

Other things you can do to help

  • Write about how you feel. Actually spelling out your feelings on paper often makes them easier to cope with.
  • Exercise seems to help the physical side of depression (probably because walking, running, cycling etc. release natural endorphin chemicals in your brain, which make you feel better).
  • Focus on some of the good things going on in your life, rather than the bad things. Think about some of these examples:
    Oh no, I've got another spot. But actually, you can't really see it, and I've got a tube of cream to zap it. And spots haven't stopped Kate coming to see me, which means maybe she likes who I am not what I look like...
    God, my parents are awful. But I can't be as crap as they say I am, because when we did The Catcher in the Rye I wrote a really good piece for GCSE English about how much I hate them. Actually, maybe I can help Sharon face her mum's awful new boyfriend - I know what she's going through.
    I'm so ugly no one will ever fancy me. But my friends seem to keep coming round, so I can't be a horrible person. Actually, judging by the birthday presents I got, they quite like me. And I might not be as pretty as Emma but she's a right snotty cow and I'm not. Well, not all of the time.