Print this topic

HealthInfo Canterbury

About depression in adults

This information is about depression in adults. Read more about youth depression, postnatal depression, depression in older adults.

About depression

Depression can be a serious illness. It is more than just a low mood. People with depression feel intensely sad or low for long periods and often without reason. They find it hard to do everyday things and often do not enjoy once pleasurable activities.

Depression is the most common mental health problem in New Zealanders. One in five people will experience depression at some stage in their lives.

Depression is much easier to deal with if it is dealt with quickly. It helps to understand what can cause it and ways of getting through it.

Do I have depression?

Read about symptoms of depression on You may also like to try this online test for depression.

If you think you might have depression, or if you are worried about your mental health, see your general practice team.


At times, suicide might seem like a solution to depression. If you or a friend is considering acting on suicidal thoughts and needs help, phone the Depression Helpline on 0800‑111‑757 or txt 4202 (available 24/7), or phone Lifeline 0800‑543‑354 (available 24/7). Or you can contact your local mental health crisis team:

On the next page: Living with depression for adults

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed March 2018.

See also:

Getting help for a mental health issue

Medications for mental health issues

Mental illness during & after pregnancy

Reading in Mind book scheme

Page reference: 496629

Review key: HIDPA-48351