Depression is a mental health condition which can affect thinking, energy, feelings and behaviour. It can vary from mild to severe and can have a profound impact, affecting every aspect of the individual, their relationships, family and work life.

Depression is a very common condition which affects 1 in 10 people at any one time, 450,000 people in Ireland alone. Any one of us, irrespective of age, gender or background can be affected. Recovery is possible, early recognition and ongoing support are key to a positive outcome.

It is possible to minimise the impact of depression by accessing information and support, and finding ways to manage the condition.

How does it affect me?

At Aware we describe depression as having eight main symptoms. If you experience five or more of these symptoms, lasting for a period of two weeks or more, please speak to your GP or mental health professional. The symptoms of depression are:

What can I do?

If you think you have depression, Aware recommends that you speak to your GP or a mental health professional. This will help you to get a correct diagnosis and decide which approach to treatment is best for you. 

If you believe a loved one may be experiencing depression, we suggest you access our information specifically for relatives here.

Dr Lisa Lawless discusses how you prepare for your consultation, questions to ask your GP, what your GP can do for you, options for treatment/referral and how you can help yourself.

Learning to cope with depression

The most important thing to do is speak to a doctor or mental health professional in order to get a correct diagnosis. To find a GP in your area, contact the Irish College of General Practitioners on 01 676 3705.

Talking through concerns with someone who understands can also be a help, Aware has a number of free services that offer support and information, find out more here.

Talks on depression

Dr Miriam Kennedy, Consultant Psychiatrist discusses depression, how common it is, what is recovery and evidence based studies of non-drug treatments of depression.

Dr Keith Gaynor, Senior Clinical Psychologist, St John of God Hospital discusses "Why perfectionists become depressed." He covers what perfectionism is, common effects of it, examples and the small steps we can take to be happy with the things we achieve.

Dr Katie Baird, Senior Counselling Psychologist & Dr Jennifer Gibson, Senior Clinical Psychologist, St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services discuss the role of self-compassion in recovery from depression


If you would like to do some further reading, please see Aware's Recommended Reading List.


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Aware Support & Self Care Groups offer a unique opportunity to talk openly about depression or bipolar disorder and its impact.

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