If you would like to discuss any of these issues further or to seek support please contact us at ausaadvice@abdn.ac.uk 


Depression is a low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your everyday life.

In its mildest form, depression can mean just being in low spirits. It doesn’t stop you leading your normal life but makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe, depression can be life-threatening because it can make you feel suicidal.

When does low mood become depression?

We all have times when our mood is low, and we’re feeling sad or miserable about life. Usually these feelings pass in due course.

But if the feelings are interfering with your life and don't go away after a couple of weeks, or if they come back over and over again for a few days at a time, it could be a sign that you're experiencing depression. 


Student blogs about MH and depression -

What are the symptoms of depression?
How you Might Feel How you might behave
  • down, upset or tearful
  • restless, agitated or irritable
  • guilty, worthless and down on yourself
  • empty and numb
  • isolated and unable to relate to other people
  • finding no pleasure in life or things you usually enjoy
  • a sense of unreality
  • no self-confidence or self-esteem
  • hopeless and despairing
  • suicidal.
  • avoiding social events and activities you usually enjoy
  • self-harming or suicidal behaviour
  • difficulty speaking, thinking clearly or making decisions
  • losing interest in sex
  • difficulty remembering or concentrating on things
  • using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than usual
  • difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much
  • feeling tired all the time
  • no appetite and losing weight, or eating too much and gaining weight
  • physical aches and pains with no obvious physical cause
  • moving very slowly, or being restless and agitated.

Resource: Mind.org

How can you get help?

If you are feeling low or think that you might be experiencing depression, the first step is to open up and talk to someone about how you are feeling. This can be someone close to you, a friend or a family member, or can be someone you don't know like a helpline or support service. In the university you can get in touch with us by emailing ausaadvice@abdn.ac.uk or the university support services at student.support@abdn.ac.uk. There is also the University Counselling service.

Self-harm/ Suicide - If you are feeling low, you might use self-harming behaviours to cope with difficult feelings. Although this might make you feel better in the short term, self-harm can be very dangerous and can make you feel a lot worse in the long term. 

When you're feeling really low and hopeless, you might find yourself thinking about suicide. Whether you're only thinking about the idea, or actually considering a plan to end your life, these thoughts can feel difficult to control and very frightening.

If you're worried about acting on thoughts of self-harm or suicide, call the Samaritans for free on 116 123 to talk.

If you feel at risk or immediate danger you can call an ambulance by dialling 999 or go straight to A&E

See Mind.org pages on how to cope with suicidal feelings for more information.


Perhaps you have noticed that a friend, family member or fellow student is depressed or anxious, even suicidal? Depression is more common than you might think, affecting one in ten of us in any one year. If you recognise the signs in yourself or someone else, there are clear steps you can take right now to help.

Depression affects everyone in different ways, but trends to look out for in your mates include: 

  • A persistently sad, anxious or generally low mood. 
  • A loss of interest in life and activities. 
  • Decreased energy, struggling to complete daily tasks. 
  • Irregular sleeping patterns – sleeping little, excessively, or without routine.
  • Increased tearfulness and feelings of worthlessness.
  • Poor concentration.

How to support a friend

Be clear about your limits. 
Before you step into a situation, be realistic with yourself and know your own limits. There are many ways in which you can aid a friend but depression is still best dealt with by a professional. Don’t take on more than you can handle but offer practical, ongoing social contact and connection, which provides an important buffer against depression. 

Encourage professional help.
There are lots of options for professional help to choose from as suits your friends’ preferences, including the university health centre, local GP surgery or counselling service.

Communicate your concern.
Isolation and lack of support are key factors in depression. Letting the person know you are worried could be a key first step in breaking that isolation. Don’t be surprised if their initial response is abrupt or rejecting, persevere in showing you care. 

Check suicidal thoughts.
If you are at all concerned about this, don’t be afraid to ask the person directly. Contrary to popular belief, this is unlikely to ‘put ideas in their head’ but may well instead offer them the relief of being allowed to talk about a taboo subject. See our support directory for services that you can contact if you are worries about a friend’s safety.