This online treatment course for depression lasts eight weeks if you do one session each week. The course is based on the principles of ‘cognitive behavioural therapy’. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a widely used and scientifically proven treatment for depression.

Session one: Understanding Depression

There are lots of symptoms of depression. Look at some of the common symptoms:

Low mood

Feeling low, sad, dull or empty

Less enjoyment

Not enjoying things as much as before

Less energy

Feeling fatigued or tired

Sleep problems

Sleeping too much or not enough

Low self esteem

Thinking badly of yourself, thinking that you're a failure

Poor concentration

Not being able to pay attention to things like TV or books


Thinking you're to blame, or thinking you've let people down

Unhealthy eating

Not eating enough, binge eating or eating too much

Slowing down / speeding up

Moving or speaking slowly or being fidgety or restless

Physical symptoms

Including constipation, diarrhoea, weight loss, headaches, dizziness and palpitations

Suicide and self harm

Thinking about killing or hurting yourself.

If you’re having thoughts about harming yourself, get urgent help here

What causes depression?

Sometimes there isn’t a clear reason for having depression. Sometimes the chemicals in your brain are too low. Other times depression might happen when you're going through a difficult time in your life.

Why doesn’t everyone get depression?

Everyone goes through difficult times, so you might be wondering why not everyone gets depression. This is because it’s not the difficult situation that causes depression. Depression happens when someone starts to think in a negative way.

Watch the video to find out more. None of our videos have sound- you can pause and replay the video as many times as you need until you understand it.

 None of our videos have sound- you can pause and replay the video as many times as you need until you understand it.

You can break the vicious cycle by changing what you do and how you think, but first you need to understand your own vicious cycle.

Activity: drawing your vicious cycle

Draw your vicious cycle and try to identify the connections between the things you do, what you think and how you feel. Remember that 'feel' includes physical changes like your heart racing, diarrhoea and constipation.

If you want you can draw different vicious cycles to show how you react to different ’triggers’ like in the video above, or you can just do one cycle to show how what you think, do and feel are connected.

Take a look at our example Vicious Cycle below for some inspiration:

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How did it go?

If you struggled to draw your vicious cycle, that’s fine - just remember that the way you feel depends on how you think and the things that you do.

It might seem too simple to be true but if you start to do normal things and think normal thoughts, you won’t be depressed forever.

Remember these things:

The vicious cycle is the key to beating depression: If you change the way you think, or what you do, you will break the vicious cycle and recover from depression.

Tablets can help recovery from depression:
 Antidepressant tablets can help speed up the recovery from depression and can help with things like poor sleep. Make an appointment to see your doctor if you are interested in using tablets. If not then that’s fine- people do recover without medication.

Do one session a week and dont forget your homework: Don’t rush through this course- make sure you only do one session each week. At the end of each session there is homework, which is an essential part of the course. You can find your homework in the yellow box below.

Session one Complete!

Here’s your homework:

1. Decide exactly when you are going to come back next week to do session two and make sure you don’t forget! You could use a reminder in your phone, write it on a calendar or use a post-it note, whatever works for you.

2. Over the next week keep looking at the vicious cycle you made and see if you notice how your thoughts and behaviours (the things you do) influence how you feel. Add to the cycle if you notice any more unhelpful thoughts or things that you do.

© the brain clinic

Important: this self-help website is provided as a support tool to be used alongside professional help. The website is not intended to provide medical advice of any sort and you must see a doctor if you think you may have a mental illness.

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