COUPLES + INDIVIDUALS
Counselling and support for depression
Depression can negatively impact many aspects of our daily lives. Over 60% of The Spark’s clients come to us seeking support for depression and other mental health-related issues when they start to adversely affect their relationships, home life or work.
In this section, you can find answers to common questions about depression, mental health and how The Spark provides counselling and support for depression. Click or tap on the options below to expand the answers.
If you think you need support for depression or it has been recommended by your GP, please freephone The Spark’s helpline – in confidence – on 0808 802 2088 during our opening hours. Or complete an enquiry form and we will call you back at a suitable time.
What is depression?
Depression is a clinical term for when an individual experiences low mood, low self-esteem and limited interest in activities for an extended period of time. Every case of depression is different however sufferers can feel like managing their daily life is a struggle. Normal activities like eating, sleeping, working and socialising can become very difficult to cope with.
Find out more about Depression on the NHS Inform website.
What can cause depression?
The causes of depression vary from individual to individual. The root of the problem is typically a mixture of factors which can include issues in your past or present life.
The following is a list of possible issues, past and present, that can contribute to depression but it is not exhaustive:
- extended periods of stress
- chronic illness
- relationship difficulties
- separation or divorce
- financial worries
- sexual identity
- substance misuse or abuse
- forms of addiction
- previous traumatic experiences
How could counselling help with depression
Counselling – also known as talking therapies and psychological therapies – can help with depression and other mental health issues in many ways.
Firstly, a professional counsellor will be experienced and skilled in helping individuals with depression. They are trained to help you find ways to cope with your depression in a non-judgemental way.
Secondly, talking to a stranger about issues like depression can be easier than speaking to a partner, family member or close friend. We can feel embarrassed or ashamed when talking about depression to those close to us. Sometimes the issues we are struggling with are too close to home to discuss openly with those we care about.
Thirdly, a counsellor will always seek to give you the tools you need to help cope with the issues you are facing. The Spark counsellors take a solution-focused approach and aims to enable clients to find a way forward.
Can you get counselling free on the NHS?
Yes, you can be referred for counselling by your GP. However, waiting times can be lengthy and group sessions (instead of one-to-one sessions) are common. Free counselling can also be limited to a small number of appointments.
Organisations like The Spark offer affordable one-to-one counselling sessions. An added benefit is that the duration of counselling is guided by you and your counsellor, offering peace of mind that your counselling will only stop when you feel ready to do so.
When is it time to get support for depression?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Most people seek counselling and support for depression once it begins to negatively impact their daily lives. Others begin counselling when they feel they have exhausted other options like talking to family or friends.
If you think you might be suffering from depression, contact your GP first to talk about how you are feeling and potential courses of treatment, which may or may not include counselling or other talking therapies.
To find out more or book a counselling appointment, please complete our enquiry form or freephone 0808 802 0050.
What else can I do?
Exercise can also help with depression as it provides a source of social interaction. Depression can cause an individual to isolate themselves but making a commitment to go walking with a friend, joining a fitness class or attending a sports club can help overcome this.
Meditation and mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness activities are increasingly popular ways to promote good mental health. Both techniques promote a philosophy of being grounded in the present moment and can help with negative thoughts and worries that are common with depression and low mood.
There are a wide range of free and paid-for mobile phone apps available that offer guided meditation stories, meditative music and mindfulness techniques. Popular examples include Headspace, Pzizz, Slumber and Calm. There is also a wide range of mindfulness books and guides available. You can also search for mindfulness coaching and classes in your local area.
Staying connected to friends and family is important for people struggling with depression. Depression often causes us to feel unloved and unwanted. Low self-esteem can lead depression sufferers to cut themselves off from those around them.
Immediate support for depression
If at any point you start to have thoughts of harming yourself or feel like your life isn’t worth living, please get help straight away by:
- Contacting your GP and asking for an emergency appointment
- Contacting Samaritans on 116 123 – they offer 24-hour a day confidential emotional support
- Calling 111 if you need help out of hours.
Depression – related articles and resources
A short article looking at some of the common indicators of depression and ways to get support for depression.
Considering the challenges facing partners and family members of depression sufferers and techniques to support them.
Who cares for the carers? Looking after someone as they battle depression is a huge challenge. In this article we look at simple ways carers can stay mentally healthy.