Many young people with depression struggle to recognise the symptoms which can remain undiagnosed for years.

Depression is a common and serious illness. Over 8,000 children under the age of 10 have experienced severe depression (Office for National Statistics. Census 2001 National Report for England and Wales.). In 16-24 year olds in England, 24.6% of young women and 14.7% of young men show signs of depression or anxiety (NHS Digital: Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017).

Whilst many people can feel sad from time to time, clinical depression usually lasts for longer than two weeks and will exhibit some of these symptoms:

Common thoughts

“I have let everyone down, I’m a failure.” “I’m so alone, no one loves me.”

“Nothing good ever happens to me. I should just give up.” “Life is not worth living.”

Common behaviours

  • Withdrawal from others
  • lack of motivation
  • Crying and mood swings
  • Self harm, alcohol and substance misuse
  • Suicidal thoughts

Common physical effects

  • Lack of energy
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Sleeping too much or too little


It is important to talk to someone you trust or a professional about how you are feeling. You can find local professionals who can help at Hub of Hope.

Other self help strategies that can have a positive effect on symptoms are:

  • Exercise
  • Relaxation
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Taking time to engage in fun activities and hobbies.

More self-help resources can be found on our mental health support page such as mood diaries and other helpful activities.

Useful websites

  • Young Minds Charity dedicated to improving the mental health of children and young people
  • The Mix The UK’s leading support service for under 25s
  • Youth Health Talk Website sharing young people real life experiences

Visit our Resources and Helplines page for more support – Further Resources & Helplines – Be Free YC