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Feeling better

What is depression?

Usually when we say that someone ‘has depression’ it means they’ve been feeling down, isolated, or haven’t been able to enjoy the things they used to enjoy. It’s something that takes time to evolve, and isn’t simply because they’re sick or something upsetting has just happened.

Depression will affect someone all day, every day, and will more than likely get in the way of their normal school, family, or working life.

Some people feel the effects of depression a lot, others just a little bit; these feelings include overwhelming or inexplicable worry, stress, anger, or numbness. Sometimes there’s no real reason, or people don’t know why they are feeling down, sad, or depressed – they just are.

If you’re feeling like you might be depressed, you’re not alone. 1 in 5 NZ youth experience these same feelings and there are many ways to get through it. Start by talking to an adult you trust or school counsellor; see a healthcare professional, or try SPARX! 

How can I get help right now?

Free phone 0508 4 SPARX (0508 477 279)  or free text 3110.

Call 111 if you or someone else might be unsafe right now.

See Get Help Now for other options.You can also have no energy and feel bad for other reasons – like if you’re sick or have other health issues (such as being low in iron).

Make sure to check this out with a healthcare professional. For more information, head to The Lowdown.

What can I do to start feeling better?

We wish there was a magic answer to stop people feeling low. Unfortunately, we can’t do that. However, there are some simple things that you can do to improve your mood and health.

Keep yourself busy

Getting on with chores, having some fun, starting a course, or getting a job can help pull your mind out of negative spirals.

Build up your skills

It doesn’t matter what it is—music, work, or a hobby—focus on something productive to stay focused on the positive.

Get your body moving

Endorphins are a natural antidepressant, so make sure you’re building up a sweat for half an hour or more, three times a week, to activate those ‘feel good’ chemicals.

Stay connected

You won’t always feel like it, but try to connect with family, whānau, or anyone who believes in you as much as possible. This could also include connecting with your own culture or church.

Break it down

One by one and bit by bit, solve problems that are getting you down. Deal with one problem at a time and get someone to help if it’s hard.

Keep life in balance

Make an effort to take time for the things you love; to have some fun; to get enough sleep, and to be kind to others. Avoid triggers like drugs and alcohol.

Ask for help

This can be the scariest part but there are loads of people who are able and willing to help you. Talking with someone like a counsellor, a teacher, a friend, a GP, or a youth worker can be a small first step with powerful results. 

Counselling or therapy can really help. Speak to a counsellor, doctor, youth worker, or call a free helpline or look up a good website like The Lowdown.

Seek medical advice

For some people, taking medication such as antidepressants can change everything. Talk with a doctor if you would like to know more.

Check it out for yourself

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