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What is depression?

Depression, despite a recent increase in awareness and knowledge, is still an often misunderstood mental health issue. As a society, we have adopted the word to mean things like “I’m having a bad day” or “I feel sad today”. While this may describe a depressed mood, it doesn’t necessarily mean someone has depression. A diagnosis of depression may be given if you have had a particular set of symptoms over a longer period of time (over two weeks). You can do a self test online to ascertain whether you may be experiencing depression, and follow up with the Medical and Counselling Centre if you have concerns.

Fortunately there are lots of treatment options for Depression including medications prescribed by a GP or Psychiatrist, Psychological or Counselling treatments including Mindfulness, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Narrative Therapy and Counselling.

There are some excellent websites as well as confidential online and telephone services.

  • Ecouch - a free self help program with modules for depression, anxiety, relationship problems etc.
  • MoodGYM - another self help programming on depression and anxiety. This course takes some time but is very comprehensive in building coping skills.
  • Headspace -an organisation set up to provide mental health, support, information and services to young people.
  • Beyond Blue - offers information on depression and anxiety.
  • Reachout - a website which offers information, support and advice on mental health difficulties commonly experienced by young adults.
  • Black Dog Institute – has a lot of information about other mood disorders such as bipolar disorder, and some excellent self-testing and self-screening tools.

Even if you don’t have all of the symptoms of depression, you may have early or emerging signs and symptoms, and it is important to note that getting help early on will result in better outcomes and can even help to prevent you developing a depressive episode. Early intervention makes a huge difference!

The Doctors and Counsellors of UC Medical & Counselling Service can provide medication, therapy and counselling help for students experiencing depressive symptoms. To arrange an appointment to speak with a Doctor or Psychologist, at the University of Canberra Medical and Counselling Centre, call 02 6201 2351.