Depression Fact Sheet

AccessAbility Services Depression Fact Sheet

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Students with Psychiatric Conditions - A Guide for Staff

What is Depression?



What is Depression?

Depression is a condition characterised by severe feelings of sadness and despair. While we all feel sad, moody, or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely and for long periods of time and often without reason.

Depression is diagnosed when:

  • The mood state is severe

  • It lasts for 2 weeks or more

  • It interferes with the person’s ability to function in every day life

Depression visual of the way depression works for people

Adapted from:


  • Disorganisation and poor planning

  • Difficulty in concentrating

  • Difficulty making decisions

  • Poor abstract thinking and problem solving

  • Difficulty processing new material

  • Moodiness

  • Social withdrawal

  • Fluctuating motivation

  • Loss of pleasure when something good happens

  • Increased irritability

  • Misinterpretation of questions, instructions

  • Decreased and/or increased sleeping

  • Suicidal ideation


Stressful life events such as relationship breakdown, divorce, death of a loved one, changing jobs, moving house, trauma or abuse may all have an influence in the onset of depression. Family history may also be a predictor of depression.

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