Depression is a mood disorder that affects the way you feel about yourself, others, and the world around you. Depression can look quite different from one person to the next. While one person might feel very sad and tired, another person might feel angry and restless. Depression (also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression) affects how you feel, think, and behave. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn't worth living.
Depression isn't a weakness, and you can't simply "snap out" of it. It’s a very real mental illness that needs treatment. Depression may require long-term treatment, but don’t get discouraged. Many people find some relief by reaching out to friends and family for support, physical activity, and eating well. And most people with depression feel better with professional help: medication, psychotherapy or both.
What is normal?
Sadness is a part of being human. We all feel down sometimes. Feeling this way for a few days is normal. In fact, many people say that they’re depressed because they’re feeling low. But if these sad feelings last for more than a couple of weeks and you start noticing that it’s affecting your life in a big way, you may be suffering from clinical depression.
What are common signs and symptoms?
Although depression can sometimes occur only once during your life, people typically have multiple episodes that include:
- Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness, or hopelessness
- Angry outbursts, irritability, or frustration
- Loss of interest in most normal activities, such as sex, hobbies, or sports
- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
- Tiredness and lack of energy
- Reduced appetite and weight loss—or increased cravings for food and weight gain
- Anxiety, agitation, restlessness
- Slowed thinking, speaking, or body movements
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things
- Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, even suicide attempts
- Unexplained physical problems like back pain or headaches
Should I seek help?
If you feel depressed, make an appointment to see your doctor or mental health professional as soon as you can. If you're reluctant to seek treatment, talk to a friend or loved one, or someone else you trust.
If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, seek emergency treatment immediately—call 911 or the Nova Scotia Mental Health Crisis line at 1-888-429-8167.
Togetherall is a clinically moderated, online peer-to-peer mental health community that empowers individuals to anonymously seek and provide support 24/7.
Wellness Together CanadaWellness Together Canada
Wellness Together Canada is a mental health and substance use website to support people across Canada and Canadians living abroad in both official languages. They provide the following resources for you at no cost:
Well Central & Well-being CourseCanadian Mental Health Association
Well Central is an accessible and completely free virtual Recovery College offering interactive courses that empower individuals to take control of their mental health and well-being.
HealthyMinds@WorkCanadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
Discover tools to help support your mental health efforts in creating a space where workers feel safe, respected, and valued.
Mental Health 101The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Knowledge is power. This series of free online tutorials is a starting point for learning about mental health. You can come away with a greater understanding of the mental health concern you are interested in knowing more about.
Psychological First Aid pocket guideRed Cross
This exciting program option teaches everyone how to help others experiencing loss, grief and stress, and also self-care.
Mindshift CBTAnxiety Canada
Is anxiety getting in the way of your life?
Antidepressant Skills at WorkPsychology Health and Safety
A self-care guide that teaches employees skills for managing depression and low mood. It utilizes established cognitive-behavioural techniques with a specific focus on workplace issues.
Walk AlongUniversity of British Columbia
WalkAlong isn't your typical mental health website, it is a community where young Canadians can explore their mental health amongst their peers.
Mood MeterGovernment of Newfoundland
We can all take actions to improve our ‘mood’ or mental wellness. The Mood Meter is a creative way for you to think about how you are feeling and what actions you can take to improve your mental wellness.
The 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge teaches you how to lower stress, increase resilience and improve well-being, performance and optimism so you can become more present at work, out in the community, or with friends and family.
Therapy Assistance Online (TAO)Therapy Assistance Online
Online library of engaging, interactive programs to learn life skills and to help you bounce back from disappointments or stumbling blocks in life.
Dealing With DepressionDealing With Depression
Teaches a set of skills (realistic thinking, how to solve problems, setting goals you can achieve) that you can apply to your own life to overcome depression.
Strongest Families Institute - Child, Youth and Parent
Strongest Families Institute (SFI) offers evidence-based, bilingual mental health services for children/youth and their families, when and where they need it.
SFI’s scientifically proven distance-delivered services improve mental health and well...
IWK Mental Health and Addictions Program
The IWK Mental Health and Addictions Program provides specialized care throughout the province for children and youth up until their 19th birthday within a patient and family...
Canadian Mental Health Association - Colchester East Hants Branch
The Canadian Mental Health Association, Colchester East Hants Branch provides public education, advocacy, and a resource center to support the resiliency and recovery of...
Canadian Mental Health Association - Halifax-Dartmouth Branch
The Canadian Mental Health Association, Halifax-Dartmouth Branch works at the community level and facilitates access to the resources people require to maintain and improve...
Canadian Mental Health Association - Nova Scotia Division
Canadian Mental Health Associations in Nova Scotia are the oldest community-based mental health and addictions charitable organizations in the province, founded in 1908. The...
Laing House, located in Halifax, is a drop-in centre for youth aged 16 – 29 living with mental health illness and/or challenges. Based on peer support, youth can meet friends...
Healthy Minds Cooperative
Healthy Minds Cooperative is an innovative mental health cooperative that provides a variety of peer-based services to people with lived experience of mental health issues and...
Eskasoni Mental Health
Eskasoni Mental Health Services (EMHS) provides a wide range of services to the Mi’kmaq people of Eskasoni, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The Tui'kn Residential School Survivor...
Caregivers Nova Scotia
Caregivers Nova Scotia provides free programs, services, information, and advocacy for family and friend caregivers. We are dedicated to providing recognition and practical assistance to friends and family giving care.
Kids Help Phone
Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7, national support service. We offer professional counselling, information and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young...
211 is a free, confidential information and referral service that can connect you to thousands of programs and services offered by local community groups, nonprofits and government departments across Nova Scotia, 24/7.
Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services - Mental Health Programs and Services
Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services (CFMWS) is responsible for administering Non-Public Property (NPP) on behalf of the Chief of the Defence Staff and for delivering...
Veterans Affairs Canada Assitance Service
Veterans Affairs provide targeted services and benefits to improve well-being including support and services related to your physical and mental health and wellness.The VAC...
Health Psychology offers psychological interventions for those with chronic and acute health conditions. The main focus is on the patient's mental and emotional reaction to an illness or their recovery from an illness.
Wellness Court Programs are specialty or problem-solving courts, where a team of professionals helps treat the issues contributing to the individual coming into conflict with...
Geriatric Psychiatry Acute Inpatient Unit
The Geriatric Psychiatry Acute Inpatient Unit is for individuals over the age of 65 with a new onset of mental illness or for individuals of any age with dementia and complicated medical and/or psychological symptoms.
Geriatric Psychiatry Outpatient Program
Seniors mental health services provide assessment, consultation and treatments to:
- seniors aged 65 and older for a new onset of mental health challenges
- individuals of...
Mood Disorders Clinic
The mood disorders clinic provides consultations for individuals with severe mood disorders such as possible bipolar disorder. This is a specialized service that provides diagnosis and treatment of severe mood disorders.
Mental Health Day Treatment Program
The Mental Health Day Treatment Program is a full-time, six week intensive group psychotherapy program. The program is for individuals with mental illness who also have long...
First Responders Assist
This service will offer short-term counselling and supportive services, including follow up if needed, for first responders and their families impacted by the tragedies of...
Adult Neurodevelopmental Stabilization Unit - Dual Diagnosis Program (Intellectual Disability in combination with Mental Illness)
The Adult Neurodevelopmental Stabilization Unit (ANSU) is an acute care unit that provides services for persons with intellectual disability and acute mental illness that...
Community Outreach Assessment Support and Treatment Team (COAST) - Dual Diagnosis Program (Intellectual Disability in combination with Mental Illness)
The community outreach assessment support and treatment team provides services for persons with both intellectual disability and also mental illness. These services include:...
Seniors Mental Health Services
Seniors mental health services provide assessment, consultation and treatments to:
- seniors aged 65 and older for a new onset of mental health challenges;
School Mental Health (SchoolsPlus)
The school mental health clinicians provide individual and group therapy, mental health and addictions education for school staff and consultation services. Clinicians are on...
Nova Scotia Operational Stress Injury (OSI) Clinic
The Operational Stress Injury (OSI) Clinic provides mental health services to Veterans, eligible members of the Canadian Forces (CF), RCMP members and former members, who have...
Provincial Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Line
The Provincial Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Line provides crisis intervention for children, youth and adults experiencing a mental health crisis or mental distress.
Inpatient Mental Health Services
Inpatient mental health services are available for those who cannot be safely assessed, diagnosed and stabilized in the community.
First Nations Services
Mental Health clinicians work as part of the first nations health care team in several first nations communities. The Mental Health Clinician provides assessment, diagnosis...
Crossroads Cape Breton is community organized to support people living with mental illness in reclaiming and enhancing their lives. People are referred to as “members” because...
Adult Community Mental Health and Addictions Services
Community Mental Health and Addictions includes a team of mental health and addictions professionals who provide services on an outpatient basis. The team provides assessment...
Child and Adolescent Services
Child and Adolescent Services/Child Youth and Family/Child and Adolescent Outpatient Clinical Services provide mental health and addiction services to children and youth...
Adolescent Outreach Services
Adolescent Outreach Services (AOS) is an expansion of the CaperBase model, which originated in Cape Breton. AOS focuses on providing:
- Brief and Early Intervention
- Community Partnerships
The AOS model is set up for...