Low mood or depression affects lots of young people and can come and go. It is normal to feel low sometimes but if you’re low mood has lasted longer than 2 weeks then you may need to get some extra support. We have plenty of tips on our page which you can try!
Write a letter to yourself explain how you feel and why. Be as open and truthful with yourself as you can be. A few days later, read it back imagining someone else wrote it to think how you would help them. Molly
Symptoms of low mood
Sometimes when people feel low they may have thoughts that can be very upsetting. Sometimes our thoughts can be really unhelpful, but it is important to recognise that they are only our opinions, thoughts are never FACT! Below are some examples of thoughts you may recognise.
“Everything is my fault, I always let other people down because I am rubbish at everything!”
“Everyone is always on my case to do things but…what’s the point?”
“I hate everyone! No one likes me, I’m so ugly…I might as well not be here anymore.”
“I don’t know what to do with myself everything feels so empty all the time. I just want to feel something instead of this emptiness, my future is not worth looking forward to if nothing changes for me”
Did you know five children in everyclass has a mental health problem. It is really common but we can help.
When you hear the word depression you may think this only means you feel sad. Depression can make you feel lots of other emotions too! You may have all of these emotions or only some of them and that’s ok because everyone experiences things differently.
- No motivation
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
- Feeling more or less tired and having less energy to do things
- Speaking slower or taking longer to decide what to say
- Eating more or eating less than usual. You may also notice a change in your weight
- Joint aches and pains
- Withdrawal from others
- Stopping hobbies
- Not taking care of yourself (hygiene ect)
- Moving slower
- Unable to settle – restless
- Doing less activities
- Staying in bed all day
- Lashing out at others
Tips to help
Looking after yourself
Sometimes when people have mental health problems they might forget or lack energy to take proper care of themselves. It is still important despite feeling low to maintain a healthy diet and get the right amount of sleep! Exercise has also been found to improve mood!
Talk to someone about how you are feeling
It can be really easy to isolate yourself from other people and spend more time on your own with your thoughts. It might feel like the easier thing to do, but we know that sharing your thoughts and feelings helps relieve some of those feelings and make things feel a little better.
You could talk to a family member or close friend about how you are feeling – having someone to listen really does help!
Other people you can talk to
If you don’t feel like talking to someone you know you could always try reaching out on the below sites who can offer chat services or more information.
Young Minds A really good website with expert articles, advice and blogs and a crisis text-line.
Self-care tips for young people. Watch these videos on dealing with unhelpful thoughts, sleep, social media, anxiety, exercise and more
Happy Maps have produced reliable resources recommended by Parents and Professionals.
BESTIE is an exciting, interactive online platform, designed to help young people to find out more about emotional wellbeing and mental health and to get the right help when they need it.
Here2Help will provide support for people of all ages and is available for both residents and organisations to access information, advice, tools, guidance and local support available to them or others in the local community based on their needs.
No wrong door Herefordshire is a one stop shop for young people aged 11 – 24 to access support around any issue they need.
Worcestershire Young Carers provides a wide variety of mainly community focused support for people and are often described as the ‘glue’ between those at risk of social isolation and the wider mainstream society.
Herefordshire Young Carers Club provides support and respite for children and young adults who are caring for a family member with an illness, disability, mental health issue or problem with drugs or alcohol.
Barnardos protect, support and nurture the UK's most vulnerable children
Activities that can help
Understanding the cycle of low mood
When we struggle with low mood we can often fall into something called the vicious cycle of low mood! This cycle keeps our low mood going so it becomes harder and harder to escape. But don’t despair there is a way to break the cycle and combat our low mood.
The opposite of doing less is…doing MORE! Increase your activities and do more things that give you a sense of achievement, closeness to others and ENJOYMENT!
Don’t believe us? Why not try doing 1 activity this week that you used to enjoy or that you’ve always wanted to try? We have a list of ideas [link to list of ideas] in case you can’t think of anything. See how you feel afterwards?
Do more activities
Create a positive affirmations poster
Positive affirmations basically means writing down lots of lovely things about you! Why don’t you give it a go now and grab a coloured pen and piece of paper.
What to include…
- Your positive characteristics – “I’m a thoughtful person”
- Your strengths – “I’m really good at Xbox games”
- Things you are good at – “playing sports”
- Your achievements – “I scored 9/10 on my spelling test”
- Something really hard that you overcame – “moving school was really difficult but I managed to settle in once I got to know my new classmates better!”
- Positive goals for the future – “when I leave school I want to become a zoologist”
- Something good that happened to you today – “my friend helped me with a tricky math question in school today”
Create a set of coping cards to remind you to stay strong
Coping cards are used as little reminders that help you to remember things when you read them because sometimes when we feel really low it can be hard to remember that this feeling won’t last forever.
Why not have a go at creating your own set of coping cards or you can print off our examples.
Grounding techniques to try
Ground techniques or breathing exercises help us to refocus our minds on the present rather than getting bogged down by all our thoughts and feelings. They help to distract us for a little while until the feeling passes and we can move on. Why not give a few of these a try?
Keeping a thought/activity diary
We have millions of thoughts a day! So it can be super hard to remember every thought that popped into our heads later on. But we still remember that we feel sad or upset by something? This is because it is easier to recall our feelings but much harder to spot what made us feel that way.
Identifying what thoughts made us feel upset can help us to stop them in their tracks! Have you heard of unhelpful thinking styles? Click on the link to find out more [link to unhelpful thinking styles game] why not try keeping a thought diary for a week to see what type of thoughts you have?
Game – match the unhelpful thinking style to the example. Explaination = sometimes thoughts can be unhelpful, this means they can make us feel upset or angry despite having no real evidence! Being more aware of when you have an unhelpful thought can help you to dismiss it easier so It no longer bothers you as much as it did before.
Step 1 of game – intro to the thinking styles
Step 2 of game – match the thinking styles to examples
Step 3 of game – do you have any of these thinking styles? Click on cards you have to add to your deck
Keeping an activity diary can also be really useful as it will help you to see what your current activity level is like. You might be sat there thinking you do absolutely nothing but by writing what you do down you can see how much you really do. You might surprise yourself! Getting up counts as doing something!
When you have logged your activities for a week, try adding 1 more activity each week to increase your motivation and mood.
How to problem solve difficult situations
When we feel low issues that come up seem huge! impossible to solve and way too much effort! This can make us feel really low and demotivated. Try using the steps below next time you have a problem at school or home that you are struggling with.
- Choose your problem
- List all the possible solutions – even the crazy ones!
- List the advantages and disadvantages
- Choose one you feel comfortable with
- Make a plan
- Do the plan
- Reflect – how did the plan go?
Need to talk to someone?
If you are a child or young person and need some mental health help please talk to someone about how you are feeling. If you don’t feel you can talk to a family member or someone at school, consider some of the helplines or text support below. You are not alone.
The wellbeing and emotional support teams in schools service is designed to help children and young people ages 5-18 years access mental health and wellbeing support early on in educational settings. It's all about ensuring children and young people can get access to the right help as early as possible.
The Reach4Wellbeing team supports and promotes the emotional wellbeing of young people and parents of primary school age children through interactive online group programmes, using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) principles.
Other helpful links
Kooth is a really good website which offers online counselling and support by text, e-mail or by chatting on the forum for ages 10-18 years.
The Blues Programme is an internationally acclaimed wellbeing programme for young people aged 13-19. Over six weeks, it teaches emotional resilience, and reduces low mood and anxious thoughts. Crucially, it gets teenagers talking.
Worcestershire Chat Health offers is a service where 11-19 years olds can text 07507331750 to speak to their School Health Nurse for confidential advice and support around a variety of issues, including bullying, emotional health, relationship problems, alcohol and drugs.
Other worrying symptoms might include hearing voices, feelings of unreality, becoming very angry or violent, showing signs of an eating disorder or becoming very withdrawn. If you are a young person experiencing such thoughts, please talk to someone about how you are feeling and if you don’t feel you can talk to a family member, consider some of the helplines or text support. You are not alone.
If you are expressing suicidal thoughts, you should also see a doctor as soon as possible. Many people express suicidal thoughts because they are feeling overwhelmed and may not really want to act on them, but it is still very frightening.
Need help quickly?
If you have taken an overdose or self-harmed and you are concerned that the cuts are very deep or there is serious blood loss go to A&E or call 999.
Emergency Help and Helplines
NHS Crisis line
Whether you feel your mental health problems have become much worse or are experiencing problems for the first time, you may need help quickly.
You can phone the mental health helpline for urgent advice: 0808 196 9127 (free phone 24 hrs a day 365 days a year)
The team will offer advice, support and, if required, an assessment to understand how you are feeling. When calling the number, you can expect to speak to Mental Health Advisors and/or trained Mental Health Clinicians who will be able to listen to your concerns and help make appropriate plans with you to support you.
Search for an urgent mental health helpline in your area
Childline Not just for young children, Childline offers a helpline, online chat and e-mail advice for anyone up to the age of 19 years.
Shout Crisis textline Text for free 24/7 support across the UK if you are experiencing a mental health crisis. All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors. Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.