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> Self Help Home Page > Depression Information > Depression Self Help

Self Help and Depression


  1. Treatments for depression
  2. Acting opposite
  3. Dealing with things
  4. Repairing Relationships
  5. Avoiding alcohol and drugs
  6. Self-help resources
  7. Act now!
  8. Helping agencies
  9. PHQ-9
  10. Disclaimer
  11. Page 1: Depression Information

Treatments for depression

Antidepressants and talking therapies (counselling or psychotherapy) are very helpful and can be accessed through your GP. You should contact your GP early if you think you might be becoming depressed. Mindfulness can help too, especially if you have been depressed before.

There are many approaches to the treatment of depression. If at first you find one doesn't work, try different approaches until you find one that you feel comfortable with and that works for you.

The vast majority of people with depression are treated by their GP. Often, antidepressants won't be your doctor's first choice. Sometimes talking can be just as effective as tablets.

If you are prescribed antidepressants, they can take several weeks to work so don't give up hope. Sometimes they work best when taken for a longer time, and they shouldn't be stopped suddenly without medical advice.

The first appointment with your GP can feel difficult, especially if you view depression as a 'weakness' (it isn't!) so it might be helpful to write down what you want to talk about before you go. Make a note of any questions or worries you might have. Some people find it helpful to take a friend or family member along.

Depression makes us feel alone and helpless, and it can be hard to summon the energy to get help. A simple 'phone call' to your GP can get things moving and start you on the road to recovery.

Acting opposite

Depression makes us shut ourselves away and slows us down. It can be very hard, but keeping active and staying with people can be very helpful. Remaining in work or returning to work might be very hard too, but can help us keep a sense of control. Keeping a normal daily routine is usually much better than withdrawing and staying in bed. We might feel like shutting ourselves away, but doing so can make things worse.

Dealing with things

Putting off problems can make them mount up. Are there things in your life you're putting off dealing with? Might an advocate or some extra support help? The Citizens Advice Bureau can help with a range of issues from housing to money worries. Doing things to address our problems relieves the burden and makes us feel 'in control' again.

Repairing Relationships

If you're struggling with a difficult relationship, or depression is causing problems in your relationship you can find a list of national relationship helping agencies, or speak to your GP about other types of relationship counselling.

Avoiding alcohol and drugs

Alcohol is a depressant - it lowers the mood. Other non-prescribed drugs can have similar effects and are best avoided. If you think alcohol or drug use might be a problem, you can contact DAN 24/7, the Wales Drug and Alcohol Helpline: DAN 24/7 website or call them on 0808 808 2234.

Self-help resources

There are many good books and websites that can help. Again your GP, practice nurse or primary care mental health practitioner will be able to recommend from a range of excellent and helpful material.

Act now!

The sooner treatment starts, the sooner you'll feel better! If you've been affected by anything you've read here, contact your GP now. Don't delay in seeking help. Depression sometimes lifts on its own, but why take the chance?

Speak with your GP or a health professional for extra information or to get on the road to recovery today.

Helping Agencies

You can find a list of national agencies that can help with depression here: National depression Agencies


Please read each statement and write a response which indicates how often you have been bothered by the following problems over the last two weeks. There are no right or wrong answers. Do not spend too much time on any one statement. This assessment is not intended to be a diagnosis. If you are concerned about your results in any way, please speak with a qualified health professional.
0 = Not at all | 1 = Several days | 2 = More than half the days | 3 = Nearly every day
1Little interest or pleasure in doing things
2Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless
3Trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much
4Feeling tired or having little energy
5Poor appetite or overeating
6Feeling bad about yourself, or that you are a failure or have let yourself or your family down
7Trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television
8Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed? Or the opposite - being so fidgety or restless that you have been moving around a lot more than usual?
9Thoughts that you would be better off dead or of hurting yourself in some way
10If you identified any problems on this questionnaire so far, how difficult have these problems made it for you to do your work, take care of things at home or get along with other people?
Total PHQ-9 score =

The maximum score of the PHQ-9 is 27, lower scores are better. Depression severity is calculated by assigning scores of 0, 1, 2 and 3, to the response categories of: 'not at all'; 'several days'; 'more than half the days' and 'nearly every day' respectively. Only the first nine questions are scored by adding the scores of the individual items. The final question, the 'difficulty' item, is not used in calculating any score or diagnosis; but rather represents the patient's global impression of symptom-related impairment. It is strongly associated with both psychiatric symptom severity and health-related quality of life. Scores of 5, 10, 15, and 20 represent cut-off points for 'mild', 'moderate', 'moderately severe' and 'severe' depression respectively.

You can download a PDF of the above table here: PHQ-9 Table


Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. We have used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. We recommend you consult a doctor or other health care professional for the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions, or if you are at all concerned about your health.

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