By, a complete website of resources for depression:

Depression may be caused by one factor alone or a combination of factors including biological, psychological and environmental (linked to social or family environment) factors.

Depression is a medical illness which affects the brain which in turn affects the rest of the body. Depression can affect anyone: children, adolescents,  young adults, middle-aged adults and older people. 20% of adults will have suffered from depression at some point in their lifetimes.

Everyone feels down from time to time. However, with depression, these feelings are more severe and occur nearly every day for two weeks or more.

Emotional Symptoms:

  • Feeling sad, empty, hopeless, or numb
  • Restlessness, irritability, or anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Less interest or participation in activities normally enjoyed
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Repeated thoughts of death or suicide

Physical Symptoms:

  • Low energy and feeling tired all the time
  • Changes in appetite or weight (eating more or less)
  • Change in sleep pattern (sleeping more or less)
  • Increased use of drugs or alcohol
  • Self destructive behavior, loss of control, or uncontrolled rage
  • May include headaches, aches, pains, digestive problems, dizziness or lightheadedness.

Biological Factors

We are not certain what causes depression. One of the predominant theories proposes that depression is caused by an imbalance of naturally occurring substances called neurotransmitters in the brain and spinal cord.

Serotonin and norepinephrine are two neurotransmitters in the brain that appear to be involved in the symptoms of depression.

Psychological Factors

Individuals are affected by outside events differently. Each person’s thoughts determine how he or she will experience life, which can affect whether or not they become depressed.

The way we think about things and view the world often emerges in childhood. For example, a strict and severe upbringing in which negative comments and criticism predominate can shape the way one views the world, in most likely a negative way.

It is not surprising, therefore, that these ways of looking at the world reinforce the negative effect of difficult situations in life, predisposing people to emotional suffering.

Environmental Factors

Depression can often be triggered by very stressful life situations or other factors such as:

    • The death of a loved one, a move, a divorce, financial difficulties or job loss.
    • Social isolation.
    • Periods of relationship conflict, whether marital or family-related.
    • Demanding work or a stressful workplace.
    • Health issues, especially when the person has a chronic health problem.

Sometimes the biggest hurdle to getting better and moving forward is the depression itself. For example, a depressed person often removes themselves from the presence of comforting and encouraging loved ones or ceases to participate in activities of personal interest as result of being depressed, which might further contribute to their condition.


Additional Resources

Depression Self Test Take the free Self Test for Depression

If You’re Depressed, These Workouts Can Help
It’s time to reframe the way people think about wellness. It’s limiting to think that exercise is just a way to lose weight or build muscle. In reality, exercise supports your brain health, hormonal function, and self-esteem. It also improves your mood, which is why it’s an important part of any self-care routine, whether you’re depressed or not.

Happiness and Depression: It’s Possible to Feel Both
You can feel depression and happiness together. When I dealt with my first severe bout of depression from my early to late teens, the best way to describe it would have been an all-encompassing darkness. It was the stereotypical, everything sucks versions of depression that we so often see in media, fiction and on the Internet. As many of us know, however, that’s not the only form of depression there is.

LoveLearnings What to do if You’re Depressed or Have Suicidal Thoughts

All About Suicide – Suicide and Depression
Shares that although most people who are depressed do not kill themselves, untreated depression can increase the risk of possible suicide.

Alcohol and Suicide
When things get tough, when it’s hard to cope, when feeling becomes too much – places where we all have been – the need to make it through becomes eminent. As this is something we all can relate to in one way or another, it should be easy to understand why you or someone you love has turned to alcohol to soothe or numb the pain. After all, it’s a quick and readily available solution, right? Well, quick and readily available – yes. A solution – no.

Beyond Blue
Discover this Australian resource for people who are suffering from depression, bipolar and postpartum depression, and anxiety-related illness.

Beyond Blue – Clinical Practice Guidelines – Perinatal Period – Media
Interview with psychiatrist Professor Marie-Paule Austin, perinatal mental health expert and Chair of the Guidelines Expert Advisory Committee.
Discover this resource that offers guides relating to depression. See the Symptom Checklist our Journey to Improvement and more.

Canadian initiative, based out of the Univ. of British Columbia, develops resources, services, and programs to improve the mental health and well-being of men. Learn about men’s depression, including symptoms, triggers, risk factors and more.

Orygen Youth Health – Fact Sheet: Depression and Young People
Learn about different types of depression. Discover what are normal feelings and what’s depression.

SAVE – Suicide and Depression
Explore this suicide prevention fact sheet prepared by Suicide Awareness Voices of Education.


University of Michigan’s Brief Diagnostic Questionnaire on Depression

This checklist is taken out of the book: Real Men Do Cry: A Quarterback’s Inspiring Story of Tackling Depression and Surviving Suicide Loss by Eric Hipple, former NFL Quarterback for the Detroit Lions (2008). This is the checklist he found at U of Michigan Depression Center, and wished that he had this checklist of symptoms of depression for  himself in high school and that he knew the signs so that he could have seen them in his own son, Jeff.

Nine-Symptom Checklist for Depression:

For each statement below, insert a number score:
0=never/not at all
1=Several days
2=More than half the days
3=Nearly every day

Over the past 2 weeks, how often have you experienced or been bothered by any of the following:

1. Little interest or pleasure in doing things
2. Feeling down, depressed or hopeless
3. Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much
4. Feeling tired or having little energy
5. Poor appetite or overeating
6. Feeling bad about yourself, feeling that you are a failure, or feeling that you have let yourself or a loved one down
7. Trouble concentrating on things such as reading or watching television
8. Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed, or being so fidgety or restless that you move around a lot more than usual
9. Thinking that you would be better off dead or that you want to hurt yourself in some way

If you scored 1 or more for any of the above statements so far, how difficult have these problems made if for you to do your work, take care of things at home or perform at school?

0= Not difficult at all
1= Somewhat difficult
2=Very difficult
3=Extremely difficult

Interpreting Scores: How to know if you may need help:

If your score is 4 or less: May be experiencing tough times but may not need professional treatment.

5-14 Should consider speaking with a professional, your doctor, a counselor at school or work, therapist, or other mental health specialist.

15 or more: May be experiencing clinical depression and likely would benefit from a thorough check up and possibly antidepressant medication and
therapy. (U of Michigan’s brief diagnostic questionnaire on depression).