Most of us feel down at some point in our lives.

Usually, these feelings don’t stop you from living your life, but they can leave you feeling sad or unhappy.

However, when these feelings start impacting your life and your health, it may be something more than feeling down.

When depression gets like this, it’s important to reach out and get help. This can be from friend or partner in the first instance, but if your depression continues and you are struggling, it’s important to seek support whether it's from your GP, talking therapies or community groups.

At SX we can talk to you if you’re worried about depression and help you to access support.  

Why do we get depressed?

The reasons for feeling depressed can be very hard to pin down, and each person’s experience is unique.

Maybe it’s been stressful at work, or you’re feeling isolated after an argument with your partner, or you’ve had a bad experience after hooking up with a guy.

It could also be linked to issues like bereavement, or coming to terms with living with a long-term health condition like HIV.

Sometimes, however, you may just feel down for no reason at all.

Many of the services that are there to support people with mental health will be able to work with you to identify the factors that contribute to your depression and help you work through them.

How do I recognise depression?

People who experience depression often have intense feelings and emotions that impact the way they live their life.

There are some common symptoms of depression that can last for a period ranging from weeks to months, or even years. You might experience some or all of them: 

  • Feeling down, upset or sad
  • Losing your appetite
  • Having difficulty sleeping or wanting to sleep all the time
  • Using more alcohol or drugs than you normally would
  • Retreating into yourself – becoming less likely to go out and be social
  • Feeling less interested in things you used to enjoy
  • Losing interest in sex
  • Having aches and pains in your muscles and joints
  • Feeling like, or often thinking about ending your life

If you are thinking of harming yourself or ending your life, you should seek professional help immediately.

You can call 999, or contact Breathing Space or the Samaritans.

Depression and gay and bisexual men

Gay and bisexual men are disproportionately affected by poor mental health, and depression is no different.

Current evidence shows that gay men are significantly more likely to be depressed than heterosexual men – and the impact is even greater for bisexual men. 

Gay and bisexual men’s experiences of mental health are closely linked to the challenges we face as a community, from experience of homophobia and discrimination, to accepting our own identity and the pressure to conform to a heteronormative society, sometimes known as minority stress.

Our mental health is also shaped by other health inequalities facing gay and bisexual men, from higher rates of poor sexual health and drug and alcohol use, to pressures within our own community, such as body image and age.