It’s not unusual to have times when you feel very low after an illness is diagnosed, and during or after treatment. Many people feel physically and emotionally exhausted from the treatment, and this can lower their mood. However, for some people affected by a serious illness their low mood may continue or get worse and they may need specialist help or treatment. Some people find that their sadness gives way to a situation where their mood is low most of the time for several weeks or more, and they are depressed.

Visit the NHS inform health library for more information about depression, including symptoms, causes and treatment.

Depression can develop slowly, making it very difficult for either you or your family to recognise when it started. In other cases it can seem to hit you suddenly – one day you wake up and realise that you feel hopeless and helpless and are engulfed in a 'black cloud' of depression.

Depression can affect anyone at any age. It is extremely common – one in five (20%) people are affected by depression at some time in their lives. Depression is not a sign of personal failure or inability to cope. You can’t 'pull yourself together' or 'snap out of it'. There are things, however, that you can do to help yourself.

Depression can usually be successfully treated. The first step to feeling better is getting appropriate help.

Contact Breathing Space for confidential advice on depression.

Condition-specific information

Further information on conditions that may be affecting you or those around you:

Support Groups

Visit the NHS inform Support Services Directory to search for local organisations that may help with the issues you are facing:

Last updated: 09 January 2015

This content was supplied by Macmillan Cancer Support.