Depression is a common medical condition, which often leads to intense feelings of sadness and despair. It will affect 1 in every 5 people at some time in their lives. Even though depression is a common experience, there is a lot of misunderstanding. One problem is that people use the word "depression" to describe the ups and downs of life. If life is proving difficult, with money worries, unemployment, difficulties at work, relationship problems or illness, it seems natural to be depressed. For many people the feeling of being depressed is the understandable result of these circumstances. Sometimes depression happens for no apparent reason. When the problem is dealt with, or when people come to terms with their situation, or find support, the feeling of depression may ease.

Depression becomes a serious problem when it cannot be shaken off; when it begins to have an effect on the person's ability to lead their life; or when it becomes so severe that life seems pointless. Depression is not something that can be snapped out of.

For further information on depression, please visit the iFightDepression webpage. It addresses the broad public, adults and young people, family and friends as well as community professionals and health care professionals.


Different things work for different people. See your own doctor or therapist to discuss the treatment options in your case. People with depression can, and do, greatly improve their quality of life when they receive appropriate treatment or help.

The most important step is: to seek help!

In collaboration with WHO to mark World Mental Health Day, writer and illustrator Matthew Johnstone tells the story of overcoming the "black dog of depression".

I had a black dog, his name was depression:

Raising awareness and motivating people to seek help is crucial. Within the EAAD there had been several PR poster campaigns in several European countries in the past decade, see a subset of examples here: is a brand and initiative of the European Alliance Against Depression (EAAD).

The iFightDepression website and online self-management tool were co-funded by the Health Programme of the European Union.