Taking action

Depression and anxiety are like any other medical condition – you need ways to get through them and stop them happening again later on. 

Some people think that it's weak to admit that they're going through a tough time. But if you have depression or anxiety, you can't just 'snap out of it' or ‘pull yourself together'. There's more to it than that.

Start by talking to someone you trust – keeping it to yourself only makes things worse. Discuss your situation with a mate, partner, family member or a colleague.

Your doctor is also a good source of information and can assess whether what you are feeling is depression or anxiety, and then work out an action plan with you if it is.

Your action plan can cover a wide range of options. This plan can include exercise, stress management, how to improve your sleep and maybe working with a psychologist who can help you to address things like negative thinking and how to deal with hassles in your relationships.

For some people, medication might also be necessary, but only if the depression or anxiety is severe or hasn't improved with other treatments. Most people using medication report a significant improvement in their condition, and greater capacity to get back to the things they used to enjoy. Find out about all the treatment options for anxiety and depression.

There are a number of different health professionals on hand to provide advice or services if you're experiencing depression or anxiety. Find out who's who and what they do.

In addition to all this, there are lots of things you can do to help yourself recover. Things like staying active and making plans for the day – they don't have to be grand plans, just small things like going for a run, talking to a mate or doing some gardening. Try to include things or hobbies that you specifically enjoy. At first, you may not enjoy them as much as you did before, but if you keep active and persist, the pleasure should eventually return.

It's also important to look after your body by staying physically active, eating healthily and getting plenty of sleep. Try not to drink or take drugs to block out how you're feeling and what is happening – this is not a positive solution and only makes the depression or anxiety worse. Learn more about recovery and tips for staying well.