Mental Health UK

What is depression?

Everyone has ups and downs. Sometimes you might feel a bit low, or feel grief when you lose someone you love. People may say that they are depressed when they are feeling down, but this does not mean that they have depression. Depression is a long lasting low mood disorder. It affects your ability to do everyday things, feel pleasure or take interest in activities.

Depression is:

    • a mental illness that is recognised around the world,

    • common - it affects about one in ten of us,

    • something that anyone can get, and

    • treatable.

Depression is not:

    • something you can 'snap out of’,

    • a sign of weakness,

    • something that everyone experiences, or

    • something that lasts forever.

How common is depression?

Depression can affect people of any age, including children. It is one of the most common mental illnesses. About one in 6 people will be diagnosed with depression in their life. The number of people who have depression may be higher than this because not everyone with depression goes to their GP.

This information was written by Rethink Mental Illness, which has been awarded Information Standard accreditation for being trusted and relevant.