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How to deal with depression

3-minute read

If you have depression, you know that it probably won’t go away tomorrow. It will take time, and some people have it on and off for long periods. So, it’s important for you to find ways to deal with it.

Why should I tell my friends or family about my mental health issues?

You should tell family and friends what you want to tell them - it’s your decision. It can help to talk about your depression with the people to whom you are closest. If they understand what you are going through, they can help to support you.

However, you might not feel like talking to anyone about it. That might be because of who you are, but it also might be a symptom of the depression.

How do I tell people I have a mental illness?

You could explain that depression is an illness and that your symptoms are not your choice. Try practising what to say with your doctor, nurse or community worker - or with someone else you trust - first. Imagine how different people might react so you can be prepared for their response.

The Heads up website has tips for telling people in the workplace about your mental health condition.

Beyond Blue has a mental health program for the workplace, with advice for employers and employees on mental health conditions.

What should I do if others react negatively?

Some people don’t understand that depression is an illness so you might face some prejudice or stigma.

You could tell them about websites like Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute so they can read up for themselves. You might also decide that it is just easier for you if you don’t talk to them about it again.

How do I choose a doctor or mental health professional?

The best approach is to talk to people you know. Ask around - see who your friends have seen. Try to work out if they would suit you or ask your doctor if they can recommend a mental health professional.

Where can I find more information about treatments, including non-drug therapies?

Find out more about treatments such as medication and psychotherapy. Exercise and other lifestyle changes can also reduce symptoms, improve wellbeing and benefit your recovery.

Other non-drug therapies that can help include:

A number of digital mental health resources are available at the Australian Government's Head to Health website or Tools and Apps on

Why is it important to follow my treatment or mental health care plan?

The treatment of depression can take time to show results, and it is important you complete your prescribed course of treatment, even if you feel better. Your mental health care plan links you with a therapist who will provide consistency in your treatment.

Where to get help and more information

If you are having a personal crisis:

If you want general mental health support and information:

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: April 2020

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