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Depression in young people

Everyone goes through tough times at different points in their lives. Feeling sad or fed up is a normal reaction to these experiences. At other times you may feel sad or fed up for no obvious reason.

Anybody can suffer from depression.

Sadness or depression

Telling the difference between normal sadness and depression is difficult.

It's important to identify:

  • how long the emotions and behaviour have lasted
  • if the emotions come and go, or are there all the time
  • if these feelings are having an impact on your daily life

Being sad or being overly tired for more than 2 weeks can mean depression.

Longer-lasting depression

Clinical depression describes more severe, longer-lasting feelings of sadness or low mood.

You will have a combination of some of the following:

  • depressed mood most of the day
  • changes in sleeping pattern
  • weight changes
  • reduced energy
  • excessive feelings of guilt
  • poor concentration
  • loss of interest in usual activities
  • thoughts of death

Clinical depression can first appear in adolescence or early adulthood.

1 in every 5 adolescents are likely to experience a depressive episode by the age of 18. The depression is most likely to be mild to moderate and not require medicine.

Learn more about depression

Helping someone with depression

Getting support

Organisations that provide mental health support and services

Page last reviewed: 1 September 2022
Next review due: 1 September 2025