Depression can affect any of us at any time in life. Most of us have felt low, fed up or miserable and usually this doesn’t last longer than a week or two and often the reasons are clear. However, if this feeling lasts longer, if it worsens, and if it starts to dominate our life, it may be referred to as depression. It can be classified as mild, moderate or severe depression. Some of the common symptoms of depression are having little interest or pleasure in doing things, feeling down, depressed or helpless, finding it hard to concentrate and make decisions, not coping with stresses you used to cope with, thinking negatively, feeling tired all the time and having difficulties sleeping.

In an assessment session, you will be encouraged to look at your problems and develop goals as well as developing a shared understanding of your problems. A plan will be developed collaboratively with an estimated number of sessions together with a review date, should this be appropriate. Further CBT sessions involve setting an agenda for the sessions, summaries to check understanding and homework tasks to help to facilitate changes. This may involve keeping records of thoughts or activities or it may involve doing things differently to observe the outcomes. At the end of each session there is an opportunity for feedback and to raise any difficulties.

The NICE guidelines for Depression published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, both for those with, or without a physical health condition, outline evidence based treatment recommendations for different levels of depression. CBT is the suggested approach together with medication in more severe cases. Mindfulness is also recommended for treatment of relapse prevention in depression for those who have experienced three or more episodes of depression.

It is important to seek help from your GP or a mental health professional should you experience symptoms or think you may be depressed to enable you to access the help that you need.

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