Please click here to read the Symptoms of Depression. We recommend that if you experience any of the following symptoms for more than two weeks that you seek urgent help from your GP. The number and severity of symptoms experienced will determine whether the depression is diagnosed as mild, moderate or severe. There are different types of depression and there may be different terms used to describe specific types of depression. Find out more.
AWARE have free Support groups across Northern Ireland – for people affected by depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, including their relatives and carers. The groups are facilitated by highly trained volunteers. The groups are an opportunity to meet with others who have similar experiences to discuss how they are feeling and support each other to move forward. Find out more.
Online support group – offered weekly to people who are unable or who don’t feel ready or able to access our face-to-face support groups and delivered through the means of a Skype video call. Find out more.
Wellbeing programmes – AWARE offer a number of wellbeing programmes into communities, schools, colleges and workplace settings across Northern Ireland. Programmes offered are Mood Matters for young people, adults and older people; Mental Health First Aid and Living Life to the Full. Find out more.
Mindfulness programmes - Mindfulness is a form of meditation which can help you develop skills and techniques to cope with the daily challenges a busy life can bring such as stress and anxiety. It involves making a special effort to give your full attention to what is happening in the present moment –and to what's happening in your body, your mind and or your surroundings. Various courses are offered such as an evening session running for six weeks, condensed courses for professionals and a self-compassion course. There are also programmes for the workplace and primary schools. Find out more.
Talking therapies (psychotherapies)
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been proven to be very effective for mild/moderate depression and in preventing relapse. It works on the basis that if we change our unhelpful thinking patterns and behaviour it will improve how we feel.
Counselling can be effective where there appears to be some underlying reasons or circumstances which may have contributed to the onset of depression or is prolonging the illness. To find a list of Counsellors in your area, you can check out the website www.counselling-directory.org.uk
Anti-depressants are the most commonly prescribed and effective treatments for moderate/severe depression. It is important, however, to take them exactly as prescribed and only to stop taking them as and when advised by your GP. They are not addictive, but stopping them suddenly or too soon may cause a relapse. They work by boosting certain brain chemicals that affect mood.
There are other things you can do to look after your mental health including eating healthy meals and exercising more and don’t forget how important it is to avoid alcohol if you are suffering from depression or on medication for the treatment of depression. Find out more.