Signs of depression

For some young people with depression, their feelings of sadness and unhappiness are long-lasting. Depression affects how they think, how they feel and what they do. These feelings may last for weeks, months or even longer.


What you might feel

You might feel irritable, sad and stressed most of the time. Or you might get more angry than usual and feel restless, unable to relax or stop thinking about what is on your mind. Other feelings that you might experience include feeling guilty, worthless, frustrated, unhappy, indecisive, disappointed and miserable.

What you might think

You might be having many negative thoughts about yourself, the people around you or your home environment. 

It is not uncommon to worry about how your depression and anxiety is affecting the people you care about or that you are a failure and that nothing good will ever happen to you. 

Often these really intense feelings can even leave you thinking that life is not worth living.

Some of the other common things that you worry about might include:


  • Friendships – being part of the group or feeling rejected or bullied, supporting someone who is also struggling to find enjoyment in life.
  • Intimate relationships – wanting to be in a relationship or trying to make a relationship work.
  • Academic performance – managing school or university workloads, preparing for exams, setting unrealistic expectations for what you will achieve at school or university.
  • Work pressures – learning a new job, meeting employer expectations.
  • Financial difficulties – having enough money for study and personal commitments.

  • Family stresses – family conflict or a family break up.
  • Loss and grief – the loss of someone close, moving house or changing schools, the end of a relationship.
  • Negative experiences around personal identity – discrimination and the fear of it, internalised stigma or bottling up negative feelings about your identity (for example about sexuality, gender identity), and negative family/friendship experiences when coming out.
  • Negative experiences related to your family’s cultural heritage, language or religion – being discriminated against or fearing it, being ignored and avoiding places and situations.


What you might do

Negative thinking and the feelings of sadness and worthlessness can mean you lose interest in the things you usually enjoy. 

The things you are meant to be doing like school, work, university, even hanging out with friends, can all feel like a huge stress or chore. You might feel constantly tired whether you sleep or not. 

There can also be changes in how you eat; you might lose your appetite or perhaps eat more as a way to feel better.

Common symptoms of depression 

These are just some of a number of symptoms that may be experienced. If you are familiar with any of these symptoms, check the list of symptoms common to depression below or take the anxiety and depression checklist. This information is not supposed to provide a diagnosis – for that you need to see a doctor – but it can be used as a guide.


  • Overwhelmed
  • Guilty
  • Irritable
  • Frustrated
  • Lacking in confidence
  • Unhappy
  • Indecisive
  • Disappointed
  • Miserable
  • Sad


  • “I’m a failure.”
  • “It’s my fault."
  • “Nothing good ever happens to me.” 
  • “I’m worthless.”
  • “Life’s not worth living.”
  • "People would be better off without me."


  • Not going out anymore
  • Not getting things done at work/school
  • Withdrawing from close family and friends
  • Relying on alcohol and sedatives
  • Not doing usual enjoyable activities
  • Unable to concentrate


  • Tired all the time
  • Sick and run down
  • Headaches and muscle pains
  • Churning gut
  • Sleep problems
  • Loss or change of appetite
  • Significant weight loss or gain