Everyone experiences emotional highs and low. It is normal to experience periods of sadness and low mood in response to stress and the daily hassles of life. Depressed mood becomes more serious when it remains for a longer period of time and starts to affect your ability to cope and your quality of life. Clinical depression defines a distinct change in mood state and functioning that continues longer than just a few days. A person will experience a number of symptoms and signs which cluster together and if left untreated can result in impairment in many facets of life, including work performance, relationships and general health. Key symptoms include: sleep disturbances, appetite changes, low mood, loss of pleasure in usual activities, low energy, impairments in concentration and decision making, feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy and more seriously, suicidal thoughts and plans. There are many factors that can be involved in the cause of depression. These include psycho-social factors such as relationship breakdowns, unresolved issues from the past, personality styles, coping behaviours and the way you deal with stress, how you interpret life and the world in general and untreated anxiety disorders just to name a few. Often there is a good indication for using anti-depressant treatments (i.e, medications such as SSRI’s), but counselling is also necessary to make sustained change and reduce your likelihood of having further episodes in the future. Like any mental health problem, there is absolutely no shame in having depression. Don’t let feelings of shame, isolation or “weakness” prevent you from seeking help. We understand that can be hard, but getting treatment earlier can make all the difference.