Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

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.

beyondblue 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 beyondblue 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 can also reduce symptoms, improve wellbeing and benefit your recovery.

Other non-drug therapies that can help include:

A number of mental health apps are also available via The Toolbox by

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: March 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

How To Deal With Depression and Sadness | THIS WAY UP

Unexplained or overwhelming sadness can be a symptom of depression. Learn more about depression, its causes, and ways to get better.

Read more on This Way Up website

Supporting someone with anxiety or depression

Helpful information for support people, friends and relatives of people who are dealing with depression/anxiety

Read more on beyondblue website

How to solve problems

If you feel anxious or depressed, your problems may seem overwhelming. To cope better, it may be helpful to approach your problems in a different way and correct your negative thought patterns

Read more on beyondblue website

How To Deal With Stress | THIS WAY UP

Are you feeling stressed out by things in your life? Learn about the causes of stress, and ways that you can learn to deal with it.

Read more on This Way Up website

Dealing with bullying

Bullying can be incredibly damaging. It causes distress and can lead to loneliness, anxiety and depression. Bullying can also affect childrens concentration and achievement at school.

Read more on beyondblue website

How We Can Help | THIS WAY UP

With a range of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy courses, This Way Up helps you overcome your depression and anxiety related disorders.

Read more on This Way Up website

How To Deal With Trauma | THIS WAY UP

Have you, or a loved one, been involved in a traumatic event? Learn about trauma, and how you can begin to overcome it.

Read more on This Way Up website

Dealing with bullying

Learn how to recognise the signs of bullying and how you can help your child.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

I use alcohol or other drugs to 'self-medicate' or 'numb myself', in order to help me deal with other problems in my life. How will I cope if I decide to stop?

While some people use drugs or alcohol to relax or socialise, others use substances as a way of coping with their problems.

Read more on NSW Health website

Anxiety, depression & musculoskeletal conditions MSK

Anxiety and depression are common in people with arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions. Find out how you can manage, find support & how we can help you.

Read more on Musculoskeletal Australia website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo