Understanding that you’re not alone

Depression is an invisible illness and from the outside it can be difficult to see the impact it is having. If you are living with depression you may feel isolated and find it hard to speak up. It’s common to worry that others won’t understand you or will look at you differently if you do disclose your feelings.

If you are a friend or family member of someone with depression, it can come as a complete surprise that someone so close to you is struggling, and this surprise may make it harder to know how best to help.

The following pages contain some important advice to help you understand that you are not alone in what you are experiencing.

If you’re struggling with depression, it can seem like you are the only person who is feeling this way.

However, depression is much more common than you may think.

One in four people will experience mental ill health at some point in their life1

One in ten people have taken time off work for depression2

According to the World Health Organization, depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide3

Depression is a serious and complex condition and your feelings are not your fault.

Depression can happen to anyone, no matter what you have going on in your life – it is nothing to be ashamed of

Depression is not a choice and cannot be easily overcome just by ‘trying hard enough’

Depression can have a serious impact on every aspect of a person’s life and therefore requires the right treatment and care4

Starting a conversation is the first step to getting the right support.

By sharing your feelings with someone, you not only give yourself the best chance of getting the right support, but you may also help others feel more comfortable talking about their own experiences in the future.

Speaking about your feelings would not make them worse. Many people find that talking to someone is a turning point in their recovery

You may feel guilty or embarrassed about asking for help, but there’s no need to. There are people around you who can and want to help you

Remember you are not asking for much, only that someone listens and is there with you


1. WHO. World Health Report. Available at: centre/press_release/en/. Date accessed: March 2021 2. Target. Depression in the Workplace in Europe: A report featuring new insights from business leaders. Available at: uploads/2014/04/TARGET_Report_Final.pdf. Date accessed: March 2021 3. WHO. Depression. Available at: detail/depression. Date accessed: March 2021 4. Lepine JP and Briley M. The increasing burden of depression. Neuropsychiatric Dis Treat 2011;7(suppl 1):3–7