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Is this course for me?

This course is relevant for anyone with an interest in depression and low mood, and we’ll assume that you have little or no knowledge of the subject. It’s appropriate for a general audience – ranging from members of the public with no mental health training, through to healthcare staff who want to know more – but it’s specifically been written with the following people in mind:

  • You may be the parent or carer of a young person who is currently experiencing difficulties with depression or has experienced difficulties in the past. You may want to find out how best to support your young person at home. Or your young person may have been referred for treatment of their depression (eg to a Child and Adolescent Mental Service) and you might want to know more about what this may involve.
  • You may work with young people in a school or voluntary setting, and want to understand how young people are affected by depression and low mood and what you can do to best support them.
  • You may work with young people in a medical setting (eg in primary care or within a hospital) and want to understand these difficulties more fully, including what depression and low mood may look like in young people and the treatment options which have been shown to be effective.
  • You may be a young person who is feeling very low or depressed. You may want to find out more about what you are experiencing, and the kinds of things which might help you to feel better.

We’d like to reiterate that this course focuses on depression and low mood in young people; it doesn’t specifically address these difficulties in adults, although some more general resources may also be relevant and helpful for adults who are experiencing depression. If you’re interested in finding out more about common mental health difficulties in adults you may wish to register you interest on another one of our courses: ‘Understanding Anxiety, Depression and CBT’.


Please note that neither of our courses are intended to be a replacement or substitute for psychological treatment; we can’t comment on individual cases and you shouldn’t try to use any of the therapeutic techniques described here without the support of a suitably qualified therapist. You should always seek professional advice should you be concerned about yourself or other family member, a friend or young person who is under your care. In the UK, your first point of call would normally be your General Practitioner (or out of hours service).

ChildLine who can be contacted on freephone number 0800 1111 and The Samaritans who can be contacted on freephone number 116 123 (UK) or via their contact page, are other sources of help based in the UK and Republic of Ireland. It’s important to note that these are UK and Ireland based charities. Since 2003, Samaritans has been working with Befrienders Worldwide, a network of 400 international centres in 39 countries set up to help people who need emotional support, to talk about problems in a confidential space. Visit the Befrienders Worldwide website to find out more.

We’ll list the Week’s resources at the end of each week, and a comprehensive list of all resources and further reading can be downloaded at the end of the course.

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This article is from the free online course:

Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People

University of Reading