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 hard to pin down, and each person’s experience is unique.

Maybe it’s been stressful at work, or you’re feeling isolated, 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 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.

Looking after yourself 

When feeling depressed it can be hard to think about what next steps to take. Here are a few ways you can look after yourself.  

  • Get good sleep and have a balanced diet. Sleeping too much or too little can have a big impact on how you feel throughout your day. Routines, and even bedtimes, can give you some consistency that helps improve your daily motivation.  
  • It’s important to treat yourself with some kindness. Try and do at least one positive thing for yourself daily, even taking 20 minutes that are just for you can help.  
  • Reach out to your friends, family or support. It can feel difficult to talk to people about how you’re feeling, but they might have experienced a similar problem and can talk you through it.   
Depression in Gay and Bisexual Men

Gay, bisexual and men who have sex with 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, bisexual men and all men who have sex with men, from higher rates of poor sexual health and alcohol/substance use to pressures within our communities, such as body image and age. 

Depression in Trans Men 

Studies have shown that trans men experience extremely poor mental health as a result of discrimination, stigma, lack of acceptance and abuse. In many cases, this can lead to depression.

Current evidence shows that more half of the trans population in UK have experienced depression, and just under half have attempted suicide. 

These factors can arise from issues accessing healthcare, discrimination in the workplace, homelessness and problems with family.  

During periods of depression, community support, including friends and social groups both in person and online) can make a very real difference for your wellbeing. 

Looking for support? Can't find the answers you need online? Fill out our self-referral form, and one of the team will get back to you.