Depression is much more than simple unhappiness.

Clinical depression, sometimes called major depression, is a complex mood disorder caused by various factors, including genetic predisposition, personality, stress and brain chemistry. While it can suddenly go into remission, depression is not something that people can “get over” by their own effort.

Some forms of depression may develop under unique circumstances:

  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): This type of depression is usually affected by the weather and time of the year.
  • Postpartum depression: This occurs in women, following the birth of a child. Upwards of 10 per cent of women will experience this type of depression.
  • Depression with psychosis: In some cases, depression may become so severe that a person loses touch with reality and experiences hallucinations (hearing voices or seeing people or objects that are not really there) or delusions (beliefs that have no basis in reality).
  • Dysthymia (persistent depressive disorder) is a chronically low mood with moderate symptoms of depression.

Signs & Symptoms

The main symptom of depression is a sad, despairing mood that:

  • Is present most days and lasts most of the day
  • Lasts for more than two weeks
  • Impairs the person’s performance at work, at school or in social relationships.

Other symptoms of depression include:

  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Sleep problems
  • Loss of interest in work, hobbies, people or sex
  • Withdrawal from family members and friends
  • Feeling useless, hopeless, excessively guilty, pessimistic or having low self-esteem
  • Agitation or feeling slowed down
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Crying easily, or feeling like crying but being not able to
  • Thoughts of suicide (which should always be taken seriously)
  • A loss of touch with reality, hearing voices (hallucinations) or having strange ideas (delusions).

For more information, visit

Depression Resources

  • Help Guide provides practical, motivating information you can use to help yourself and others. From abuse and addictions to stress and schizophrenia, this website covers a wide range of topics. – 
  • Here to Help offers skills for handling stress, depression, difficult emotions and body image. – 
  • Students Against Depression offers students comprehensive information and discussions about: What depression is and how it works, what contexts depression flourishes in, self-help strategies for tackling depression, and how to get further support and help –
  • Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think (Authors: Dennis Greenberger and Christine A. Padesky)
  • Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy (Author: David D Burns)
  • The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (Authors: Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn.)

Find a list of crisis numbers to call across Canada here: 
Canada’s National Suicide Helpline Toll‐free 1‐833‐456-4566 (24/7) Text: 45645 (4pm-midnight) 
If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, the Canada Suicide Prevention Service is available 24/7 for voice and 4pm to 12am ET for text. 
ConnexOntario (available 24/7) Call 1-866-531-2600  
Provides free and confidential health services information for people experiencing problems with alcohol and drugs, mental illness and/or gambling. We are funded by the Government of Ontario. 
Toronto Distress Centres (Available 24/7)  Call 416 408-4357 or 408-HELP Distress Centres of Greater Toronto has provided 24-hour support, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to individuals in our community at risk and their most vulnerable. We are Canada’s oldest volunteer delivered crisis, emotional support and suicide prevention + intervention + postvention service agency. 
Gerstein Centre Call 416 929-5200 24-hour community-based crisis services for adults 16+ in the City of Toronto who are dealing with mental health, concurrent, or substance use issues and are currently in crisis Telephone crisis line, mobile crisis team, community-based crisis beds, short term follow-up support, and referrals to other beneficial health and social services Free, confidential, and either complement or provide an alternative to medically-based services 
Spectra Helpline 905-459-7777 (Brampton & Mississauga) 1-877-298-5444 (Caledon) 905-278-4890 (TTY) English Helplines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. 
Community Crisis Line Scarborough and Rouge Hospital  Call 416 495-2891 
Service borders: south to the lake, north to Steeles Avenue, east to Port Union Road, and west to Victoria Park Crisis programs support individuals in crisis and provide continued service based on urgency, so they are able to remain in their homes rather than in hospital. These crisis programs are available for individuals currently accessing mental health care services, as well as those requiring mental health care services for the first time. The crisis programs are fully integrated and coordinated with the hospital’s Mental Health program and the broader mental health care system. 
Durham Crisis and Mental Health Line Call 905 666-0483 Telephone support is available toll free, 24 hours per day, to support the individual in crisis and/or their support.  A community visit by our mobile crisis team can be arranged to support the individual in their preferred environment.  Follow-up support, including linkage and referral to other community supports, are also available. 
Oakville Distress Centre Call 905 849-4541 for residents of Halton Region (Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville)  Distress Centre Halton supports people in our community to better cope with crisis, loneliness, and emotional stress. Mobile Crisis Response Teams (24 hrs/7 days)  
Toronto: Gerstein Centre Crisis Line: 416 929-5200 service borders: south to the lake, north to Eglinton, and then north to Highway 401 (between Bathurst and Bayview), east to Bayview to Danforth and then to Victoria Park, west to Isinglinton Ave. St. Mike’s Hospital Mobile Crisis Team via Police Department (911) accessible through police (no direct number). Response team consists of a police officer and a mental health nurse. St. Joseph’s Hospital Mobile Crisis Team via Police Department (911) accessible through police (no direct number). 
Scarborough/East York Scarborough Hospital Regional Mobile Crisis Team via Police Department (911) accessible through police (no direct number). 
York Region: Community Crisis Response Service, Distress Centre: Toll Free: 1 855 310-COPE (2673) 
Peel Region: Mobile Crisis of Peel: 905 278-9036, 24 hours, 7 days a week (Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon) 
Credit Valley Hospital; Emergency Department: 905 813-4141. Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and statutory holidays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. The mobile crisis team only meets with individuals who are registered in the emergency departments at either Credit Valley Hospital or Mississauga Hospital. Note: Emergency Department is unable to offer medical advice over the phone. Please call Telehealth for medical advice at 1 866 797-0000. 
Hamilton St. Joseph’s Hospital Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COAST): 905 972-8338 
Halton Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COAST): 1 877 825-9011. Covers: Oakville, Milton, Georgetown, Acton and Burlington. 

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