Reaching out for help and lifestyle changes key to tackling depression

Anyone with five or more key symptoms for two weeks should contact professional – Aware

Symptoms of depression include feeling sad, anxious or guilty, having low energy, low self-esteem, poor concentration, under or over-sleeping, and a loss of interest in hobbies, family or social life. Photograph: iStock

Symptoms of depression include feeling sad, anxious or guilty, having low energy, low self-esteem, poor concentration, under or over-sleeping, and a loss of interest in hobbies, family or social life. Photograph: iStock

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Most people will experience some level of depression at some stage in their lives and they recover from it with or without professional help.

Symptoms include feeling sad, anxious or guilty, having low energy, low self-esteem, poor concentration, under or over-sleeping, a loss of interest in hobbies, family or social life, physical aches and pains without any physical cause and a loss of interest in living or thinking about death.

Support group Aware recommends that anyone who has five or more of the above symptoms for two weeks or more should contact their GP or mental health professional.

Aware also recommends that anyone suffering from depression should reach out to family and friends, make some lifestyle changes (such as daily exercise, avoid drinking tea/coffee late at night, reduce alcohol consumption, eat healthily, keep a gratitude journal) and discuss treatment options including talk therapy and medication with their GP.

See aware.ie for a series of videos on lifestyle changes to help relieve some symptoms of depression and how to talk to your GP about a mental health problem. Aware can be contacted by email on supportmail@aware.ie or on freephone 1800 80 4848 from 10am-10pm seven days a week for confidential support.

Pieta House also provides one-to-one therapy to people who are in suicidal distress. To make an appointment, phone 01 4624792 or email belongto@pieta.ie. The Pieta House 24-hour support line is 1800 247247. A text-based service is also offered by texting HELP to 51444.

SpunOut.ie supports young people with mental health difficulties on 086-1800280. The youth mental health charity, Jigsaw, takes calls on Freephone 1800 544729 from 1pm-5pm Monday to Friday, or you can text CALL ME to 086 1803880 for a call back.

The HSE offers online counselling for those over 18 following referral from a GP, a primary care psychologist, the National Counselling Service or Jigsaw.