Living with

Talking about it

Sharing a problem with someone else or with a group can give you support and aninsight into your own depression. Research shows that talking can help people recover from depression and cope better with stress .

You may not feel comfortable about discussing your mental health and sharing your distress with others. If this is the case, writing about how you feel or expressing your emotions through poetry or art are other ways to help your mood.

Here's a list of depression support groups and information about how to access them.

Smoking, drugs and alcohol

If you have depression it may be tempting to smoke or drink to make you feel better. Cigarettes and alcohol may seem to help at first, but they make things worse in the long run.

Be extra cautious with cannabis .You might think it's harmless, but research has shown a strong link between cannabis use and mental illness, including depression.

The evidence shows that if you smoke cannabis you:

  • make your depression symptoms worse
  • feel more tired and uninterested in things
  • are more likely to have depression that relapses earlier and more frequently
  • won't have as good a response to antidepressant medicines
  • aremore likely to stop using antidepressant medicines
  • are less likely to fully recover

Your GP can give you advice and support if youdrink or smoketoo much or use drugs.

You may also find the following pages useful:

  • stop smoking
  • getting help for drug addiction
  • alcohol support

Work and finances

If your depression is caused by working too much or if it's affecting your ability to do your job, you may need time off to recover.

However, there's evidence to suggest that taking prolonged time off work can make depression worse.There's also quite a bit of evidence to support that going back to work can help you recover from depression.

If you're employed, you may be able to work shorter hours or work in a more flexible way, particularly if job pressures seem to trigger your symptoms.

Under the Equality Act (2010) , all employers must make reasonable adjustments to make the employment of people with disabilities possible. This can include people who've been diagnosed with a mental illness.

These include:

Looking after someone with depression

It's not just the person withdepression who'saffected by their illness. The peopleclose to them are also affected.

If you're caring for someone with depression,your relationship with them and family life in general can become strained.You may feel at a loss as to what to do. Finding a support group and talking to others in a similar situation might help.

If you're having relationship or marriage difficulties, it might help to contact a relationship counsellor who can talk things through with you and your partner.

In this video called 'Help with your relationship: couples therapy' , a relationship counsellor explains what couples therapy involves and who it can help.

Men are less likely to ask for help than women and arealso more likely toturn toalcohol or drugs when depressed.

Coping with bereavement

Losing someone close to you canbe a trigger for depression.

When someone you love dies,the sense of loss can be so powerful thatyou feel it's impossible to recover. However, with time and the right help and support, it's possible to start living your life again.

Find out more with these videos and articles allabout coping with bereavement .

Depression and suicide

The majority of suicide cases are linked with mental disorders, and most of them are triggered by severe depression.

Warning signs that someone with depressionmay beconsidering suicide include:

  • making final arrangements, such as giving away possessions, making a will or saying goodbye to friends
  • talking about death or suicide t his may be a direct statement, such as "I wish I was dead", but often depressed people will talk about the subject indirectly, using phrases like "I think dead people must be happier than us" or "Wouldn't it be nice to go to sleep and never wake up"
  • Self-harm on 116 123 (the helpline is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year). You can also email .

    Helping a suicidal friend or relative

    If you see any of the above warning signs in a friend or relative:

    • get professional help for them
    • let them know they aren't alone and you care about them
    • offer support in finding other solutions to their problems

    If you feel there's an immediate danger, stay with the person or have someone else stay with them, and remove all available meansof committingsuicide, such as medication.

    Over-the-counter medication, such as painkillers, can be just as dangerous as prescription medication. Also, remove sharp objects and poisonous household chemicals such as bleach.


Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 11 Oct 2016