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Advice and Counselling Service

Depression and low mood

What is depression like? 

It is natural to experience low mood at times, particularly if you are going through something difficult. Sometimes these low feelings can become more persistent, and surface regardless of what is going on.  

Everyone's experience of depression is different, and there is a wide variety of symptoms. Some of theseare: 

  •  feeling restless and agitated
  •  feeling tired and lacking energy
  •  getting no pleasure out of life or what you usually enjoy
  •  finding it hard to concentrate or think about things with focus
  •  being preoccupied with negative thoughts
  •  feeling numb, empty and despairing
  •  feeling helpless and/or having suicidal thoughts

 Depression spans a spectrum. At one end you can struggle on, leading a relatively normal life, but feeling awful. On the other end, depression may lead to feeling suicidal. Many people experience depression at some point in their lives, and it’s important to think about what might help you if you experience it. 

If you feel suicidal, you may want to read more in our suicidal thoughts topic section or if you are concerned about your safety, visit our Help in a Crisis page.

Ways to support yourself 

  • Allow yourself to feel difficult feelings and respond with soothing activities that comfort you. Take things steadily and try to be patient, it may be that you cannot engage with things as much or do things as quickly as you usually do.
  •  Process your feelings – it can be helpful to share our difficulties. The process of talking or writing or creating can help us to feel some relief. 
  •  Take time out to rest and recover regularly – you need to have breaks from studying and from the things that exacerbate your low mood. Schedule in time to rest and do relaxing or fun activities.
  •  Review your day-to-day: think about your general lifestyle, how you are eating, your sleep patterns, and physical activity or movement. All of these have an impact on our mood and how we’re feeling so we may need to check in on how they’re working for us and make some adjustments if we can.
  •  Practise mindfulness - Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment. It helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so that instead of being overwhelmed by them, we're better able to manage them. Mindfulness is proven to help with low mood and depression. Find out more about how to learn mindfulness on the MIND website.
  •  Practise self-compassion – try to be understanding and kind to yourself when you experience low mood and depressive symptoms. When we are critical of ourselves, it can contribute to our feeling of overwhelm or struggle. Read more about self-compassion:
  •  Reach out for support – if you are struggling with low mood or symptoms of depression, contact your GP for support. You can also contact us to speak to someone one-to-one. 

Specialist organisations 

The Samaritans are available for confidential emotional support to anyone who feels depressed or in crisis. They offer a 24-hour helpline, email listening support, or you can visit a local branch if you prefer to speak to someone face to face. 

Students Against Depression is a useful resource about depression and suicide. The site includes stories from other students about their experiences of feeling depressed and advice about self help. 


For more detailed information about the symptoms pf depression and ways to respond to depression. 

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