Definition: Depression is a type of mood disorder with symptoms such as feelings of anger, emptiness, loss and/or sadness.


Depression is one of the most prevalent mental health conditions, after anxiety, and affects millions every year. It can impact anyone at any age and can present itself in different ways and comes in several different forms, including major depressive disorder, otherwise known simply as depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and dysthymia or persistent depressive disorder.

Each of these conditions is largely dependent on the length of time an individual has experienced symptoms. Seasonal affective disorder occurs most often during the colder months when there are fewer hours of daylight but can also occur during the warmer months, dysthymia is a long-term, chronic form of depression, and major depressive disorder involves persistent periods of acute depression.


People with depression will experience symptoms in different ways and on varying levels of severity. This doesn’t make anyone’s journey anymore or less valid, it’s just important to remember that your own journey is unique to you.

If you have experienced any of the following symptoms for more than two weeks, it could be a good time to talk to a professional.

  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling irritable or angry
  • Feeling numb
  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness or loneliness
  • Less energy or feeling fatigued
  • Loss of interest in activities and/or things you once enjoyed, also known as anhedonia
  • Moving or talking more slowly than usual
  • Thoughts of suicide and/or self-harm

People may experience some or all of the above symptoms. In some individuals, there may be additional symptoms including anxiety, psychosis, catatonia and others.


As with any health condition, treatment can vary from person to person. What’s helpful for one may not be helpful for another, however, there are some treatments available that can and do help those struggling with depression. Treatments include:

  • Medication: There is a range of medications, including antidepressants, that may be useful in better-managing depression symptoms.
  • Psychotherapy: There is also a range of therapies that have been found to have a positive effect on those experiencing depression. These include talk therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), group or family therapy, behavioural activation (BA), and mindfulness-based therapy. In some cases, those with depression have found electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) to be beneficial. While there has been a lot of stigma surrounding this specific type of treatment, modern medicine has allowed it to be a safe and effective treatment for many health conditions.
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS): This is an option for when antidepressants and other therapies haven’t worked.

Other mediums can also be beneficial for those with depression. This may include such things as journaling and mindfulness activities, among others.

It’s best to talk to your health team when looking at treatment options. They can recommend and guide you through what could be the best fit for you and your well-being.

I have a loved one experiencing depression, how can I help?

If you have a loved one who is struggling, having an open conversation about how you can best support them can mean the world. For example, asking how you can best support them on their journey. You could offer to help with chores, send them a message to let them know you’re thinking of them, etc. Simply being a friend can often be the best thing to do. Maybe even working on a well-being plan with your loved one that may be useful to both of you.

Understanding this condition is also immensely helpful. It can help you and your loved one to better work with what they’re going through. It’s equally important to also remember to take time out for yourself for self-care.

It’s important for those struggling to know that depression can be managed. You can find ways to cope with it and heal from it. There is always hope and people who care about you who will support you on your journey.

Resources and Links

Voices of Hope does not offer direct mental health services and our team is not comprised of trained mental health professionals. If you require assistance, we recommend visiting our resources page for helpful information.

If you are in immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, or need advice for someone in your life that is at risk of immediate harm to themselves please contact your local emergency services.