Depression is a very common illness and can affect people in different ways. Some people suffer long lasting feelings of sadness and hopelessness, while others lose interest in things that they used to enjoy.
Everyone experiences days when they feel a bit down, but if you have those feelings every day for more than two weeks, without a particular cause, it may be depression. You can read more about depression on the NHS choices website.
If you think you may be depressed, contact your local GP for advice about mental wellbeing and the services available to you.
What are the symptoms?
There are many symptoms of depression, including low mood, feelings of hopelessness, low self-esteem, lethargy and sleep problems. The more symptoms someone has, the more likely they are to be depressed.
Am I depressed?
The NHS depression test will help you to assess whether you could be suffering from depression. You should give answers based on how you have been feeling during the last two weeks.
The treatment you receive will depend on the severity of your condition. If you have mild depression, lifestyle measures such as exercise and self-help groups may be offered to you. Talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are often used to treat mild to moderate depression. In some cases, you could be prescribed antidepressants.
Who else can help?
Combat Stress is the UK's leading charity for veterans' mental health. The charity offers free expert advice, support and treatment for depression through community occupational therapy and nurse-led groups, one to one sessions and a peer support programme.Visit the Combat Stress website for more information, or call their 24-hour mental health helpline on 0800 138 1619. Please be aware as of Monday 27 January 2020 Combat Stress will not be taking new referrals in England and Wales. Referrals will continue as usual in Northern Ireland, and in Scotland.
The RAF Benevolent Fund (RAFBF) has a strong tradition of looking after the RAF Family in the UK and overseas. They are there for all serving and former members of the RAF as well as their partners and dependent children. They also offer a wellbeing service to help with mental health issues.