Two in three people experience depression, low mood, or anxiety at some point in their life. It can be mild and last only a few weeks or it can be a lot more severe.
Types of Depression
There are several different types of depression
- simple depression – is a general feeling of despair and sadness. Manic depression – is when your mood fluctuates between intense depression and mania (or elevated mood). This is also known as bipolar disorder.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – is a specific type of depression that affects people in the autumn and winter months. It is believed that SAD is related to a lack of daylight exposure and people begin to suffer as the days get shorter.
- postnatal depression – is a fairly common problem that occurs in women after childbirth. It usually begins in the weeks following the birth, but can take months to develop.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression is a common problem in older adults. And the symptoms of elderly depression can affect every aspect of your life, impacting your energy, appetite, sleep, and interest in work, hobbies, and relationships.
The following symptoms can range from being mild to severe.
- feelings of sadness
- poor motivation
- poor concentration
- sleeping problems (either sleeping too much or too little)
- changes in appetite (either eating too much or too little), which may result in weight loss or weight gain
- general aches and pains
- having less energy than is usual for you
- constantly thinking ‘life is not worth living’
- feelings of uselessness/worthlessness
- feelings of irritability
People can become depressed for any number of reasons, or for no obvious reason, however some common triggers can include:
- genetic factors
- work, relationship or financial problems
- unemployment and retirement
- or changes in body chemistry as a result of illness
Anyone at any time in their life can become depressed and some people are more susceptible than others.
The HelpGuide provides information on how you can recognise depression in older people and how you can help your loved ones if you think they are depressed.
It is not always possible to prevent depression. However, it is important for you to improve your emotional wellbeing. This can be done by:
- Getting enough rest (aim to have eight hours sleep every night)
- Taking yoga/massage classes
- Keeping physically active
- Healthy eating and drinking
- Sharing your feelings and talking over problems with family members or friends that you trust
People suffering from a mild form of depression may benefit from treatments such as talking therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), specific counselling, an exercise programme, or a self-help programme.
People suffering from moderate to severe depression may be treated with anti-depressant medicines, psychological treatments, or counselling.
In the first instance, it is important to speak to your GP who will be able to discuss your feelings with you, offer support and treatment, or refer you for counselling or other specialist support.
Local Advice and Information
If you are suffering from depression you may feel alone or desperate at times. It is important to remember that there are many people who can provide advice and support. Your friends, family or GP may be the first people you turn to, however, if you would find this difficult or embarrassing there are many organisations that can help.
Launchpad is an organisation run by and for people experiencing mental health problems. They are involved in the planning, delivery, monitoring and evaluation of Mental Health services, advocating to influence the decisions made around Mental Health services.
ReCoCo: The Recovery College run various peer-led support groups, and free educational and creative courses, which are open to anyone who would find them helpful in their recovery from mental illness, substance misuse, trauma or anxiety.
Chain Reaction service supports older people to live independently in the community by combating social isolation and increasing good emotional health and wellbeing. They can offer:
- advice, advocacy and liaison to get support such as aids and adaptations and welfare rights
- help in gaining access to other services
- access to local community organisations and resources
- risk assessment to help people to stay safe
- developing peer and volunteer support networks
- emotional support
This service is available if you receive support from social services or aren’t in a position to pay for care yourself.
If you’re not eligible for this service but are affected by loneliness and isolation, support is available to help you to build new networks of support and develop friendships in your local community.
Ways to Wellness service helps people in the West of Newcastle to manage their long-term conditions, which may include activities such as:
- getting involved in local groups and activities
- accessing specialist services and support
- healthy eating and getting more active
- getting support around benefits and welfare rights
Newcastle Talking Helps offers talking therapies that are effective in helping people with problems such as depression, anxiety, stress, anger, fears, bereavement and relationship difficulties.
A Time 2 Talk offers counselling to support individuals who are facing the impact of life changing events that can result in: Anxiety, Depression, Stress, loss of employment, adjusting to new way of living, loss of living independently, moving to sheltered accommodation, mobility loss, sight impairment, relying on others for care. They can support individuals, their carers, partners, family members and friends.
Tyneside Women’s Health promotes the positive mental health and emotional well-being of women through various groups and activities.
Newcastle Libraries ‘Reading Well Books on Prescription’ scheme have a number of books available to borrow to help you manage your mental wellbeing. The titles chosen deal with issues such as anger, anxiety, fear, panic, worry, assertiveness, confidence, self-esteem, depression, eating disorders, fatigue and pain.
Tyneside Mind runs a Safe Space Service. See their listing or our events section for more information. It is an informal group that offers essential support to adults who are experiencing problems with their mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Anxious Minds provides free confidential support for all suffers of anxiety and depression.
Information in Other Languages
Chinese Mental Health Association specialises in providing community-based mental health assistance and support to the Chinese community.
Other Useful Information
- British Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists has a searchable list of accredited counsellors and psychotherapists to help you find one near to you.
- Depression UK
Other Useful Organisations
- The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) offer confidential, anonymous and free support to men who are down or in crisis.
- NHS 111 you can call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency.
- NHS.UK is a website providing health and medical advice, an online symptom checker and a facility for searching for services near you.
Please note – The content on this website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you are feeling unwell, make an appointment to see your GP or contact NHS 111. In an emergency, dial 999.
Last updated: June 4, 2020