There is no single cause of depression, different people experience depression for different reasons.

Many things can cause or bring on depression, some of these can include;

Life events

Upsetting or stressful life events, like moving home or losing a loved one, can be difficult times with lots of emotions and feelings. This could be a trigger for the onset of depression.


Chronic, long-term illness and health conditions can leave you more vulnerable to developing depression. Some conditions can be the direct cause of depression, while others may be the indirect cause.

If you are worried, make an appointment to speak to your GP to discuss your concerns.


Research shows that those with a family history of depression have an increased risk of developing depression at some point in their lives.


Personality traits such as low self-esteem and being overly self-critical can make you more likely to develop depression.

Rumination/ over thinking

Thinking about negative events and emotions repeatedly can lead to a focus on sad or undesirable experiences.

These cycles of thought can have a negative impact on mental health and lead to depressive episodes for some autistic people.

Societal pressure

Pressures to feel or experience things in a certain way can have a negative effect on a person’s mental wellbeing. The constant need to try and conform to these expectations can add or create feelings of low mood and or depression.

Bullying and social isolation

Being bullied can have a big impact on mental health and increase feelings of not belonging or not fitting in.

This can result in depressive thoughts and feelings and may lead to thoughts of self-harm.

If you are experiencing thoughts of self-harm, it is important to talk to someone to get help. Call the Samaritans on 116 123 and speak to someone now.

Sleep and exercise

Poor or little sleep and lack of exercise can significantly contribute to feelings of low mood. This can make it harder for you to cope with things going on in your life.


A lack of regular balanced meals can result in poor nutrition. Nutrition plays an important role in the body’s overall health and wellbeing. If you are worried about your diet, make an appointment to speak to your GP to get some help and support with your nutrition.


Starting a new medication or changing existing ones can sometimes affect your mood. If your symptoms persist, speak to your GP for advice on what to do.

Depression has a range of different symptoms that can affect your mental and physical wellbeing.

Symptoms can vary from person to person and can include:

  • Continuous low mood or sadness
  • Feeling tired or sleepy all the time
  • Feeling helpless and/or hopeless
  • Feeling that you are not good enough
  • Feeling like you want to cry all the time or crying uncontrollably
  • Lack of interest and joy in activities you once enjoyed
  • Fluctuating mood, for example, you may feel sad then ok and then sad again
  • Feeling irritable or angry (more than usual)
  • Avoiding people, you normally interact with for example friends and/or family
  • Changes to your appetite or weight
  • Lack of energy
  • Moving or talking slower than usual
  • Sleep that is more disturbed than usual
  • Thoughts of suicide, death or self-harm

Click here to take a look at some of the treatment options for depression.

If you are having thoughts about harming yourself or suicide, it is important to speak to someone, contact one of the services below and get some help:


Whatever you’re going through you can call us any time, from any phone for free on:

116 123


The UK’s first 24/7 crisis text service, provides free, confidential, 24/7 text message support in the UK for anyone who is struggling to cope. This service is free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis, anytime.

Text SHOUT to 85258.

Central Access Point

If you are in need of urgent NHS mental health support, you should call the Mental Health Central Access Point which is open 24/7.

Call: 0808 800 3302

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