Depression is at once the most common and yet most misunderstood form of mental health issues. Everyone may have a day, or series of days, where their mood is low. Often such a depressed mood results from being sad, down, or preoccupied just from dealing with the circumstances that life has thrown at one.

However, a depressed mood should not be mistaken with what is generally referred to as either “major depression” or “clinical depression”. In this condition, the emotional state does not relate directly, or is out of proportion to, what is happening in a person’s life. This type of depression lasts for several weeks or longer.

A person who is feeling depressed may exhibit a wide range of symptoms that at times can seem contradictory. Common aspects of depression are: low mood, sadness, anxiety, sleep disturbances, increased or decreased appetite (possibly leading to increase or decrease in body weight), sexual difficulties or lack of sexual interest, not finding pleasure in previously enjoyed activities, frustration or anger, and suicidal thoughts or behaviour.

Depression or depressed mood can often be improved with counseling. When the depression is deeper or more entrenched, or the individual is severely debilitated or suicidal, pharmaceutical interventions from a physician may be required. Even then, working with a counselor will help you to come to understand your feelings and where they originate; it will enable you to change your thought processes and actions, thereby minimizing the effect of depression on your life.

Find more resources at

  • National Institute of Mental Health – Depression – A detailed booklet that describes Depression symptoms, causes, and treatments, with information on getting help and coping.
  • Public Health Agency of Canada – A Report on Mental Illnesses in Canada is designed to raise the profile of mental illness among government and non-government organizations, and the industry, education, workplace, and academic sectors. It describes major mental illnesses and outlines their incidence and prevalence, causation, impact, stigma, and prevention and treatment.