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Weekdays: Monday-Thursday 6pm to 2am

Weekend: Friday 6pm-Monday 6am

This service is for people in Scotland

Signs of depression

How do I know if someone is depressed?

If you are a relative, friend or colleague your worry may have been triggered by some change in the person you are concerned about.

In depression there may be visible changes in a person’s:

  • behaviour
  • appearance
  • mood
  • attitudes
  • conversation
  • activity

Explore some of the common signs that someone may be depressed.

Common signs of depression

Physical problems

Physical problems are very common and may be first indicators that something is wrong e.g. sleeping problems, weight loss or gain, decreased sexual interest, or muscular aches and pains.

People problems

There may be a tendency to avoid others e.g. "I don't want anybody to see me", "I feel uncomfortable with people around me".

Negative language

Negative image of themselves shown through conversation e.g. "I'm a failure", "I'm no good", "No one cares about me", "It's my entire fault", "I'm no good to anyone".

Change in appearance

There may be noticeable changes in the person's appearance e.g. looks sad, unkept, slow movements.

Suicidal thoughts or wishes

If the depression is severe, a person may be thinking about suicide but not expressing these thoughts. They may suggest this indirectly e.g. "I'd be better off dead" or "What's the point of it all?".

Negative feelings

It is common to be overcome by negative emotions e.g. feeling sad, crying a lot, hopeless, discouraged or listless.

Reduced concentration

This is a common complaint in depression e.g. "I cannot concentrate long enough to read the newspaper or watch television".

Reduced activity

There may be a reluctance to do anything e.g. "I just sit around and mope", "Doing anything is just too much of an effort". Possibly reduced interest in hobbies.

Other information

Breathing Space opening hours

24 hours at weekends (6pm Friday – 6am Monday).

6pm to 2am on weekdays (Monday – Thursday).

Phone and speak to a Breathing Space advisor on 0800 83 85 87.

Use a textphone to contact Breathing Space on 18001 0800 83 85 87, or use the Relay UK app.

Other languages and formats

This information is also available in:

British Sign Language (BSL)

NHS inform has information on different factors which affect mental health, alongside tips to help improve mental wellbeing.

Find out more about mental wellbeing

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