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Low mood, depression and suicidal thoughts

Is your life or someone else’s life in danger? 

If you have seriously harmed yourself or you feel that you may be about to harm yourself, call 999 for an ambulance or go straight to A&E. Or, if you are unable, ask someone else to call 999 or take you to A&E.
Are you experiencing a mental health crisis?

If you need help urgently, but it's not a life-threatening emergency contact the First Response Service (FRS) by dialling 111 and choosing option 2.

Most of us feel low, sad or tearful from time to time.

Feeling low is common after distressing events or major life changes.

Some common things that make us feel low include:

  • Pressure at work
  • Unemployment
  • Retirement
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Divorce
  • Loneliness
  • Caring for someone else
  • Financial problems
  • Bereavement
  • Illness
  • Injury
  • Buying a house
  • Having a baby
  • Planning a wedding

Sometimes we just feel low for no reason at all and it can be difficult to know what is causing us to feel like this.

It’s usually possible to feel better by making small changes in our lives and low mood often gets better after a few days or weeks.

However, if feeling low does not pass it can interfere with our daily life and affect our relationships.

Symptoms of a low mood may include feeling:

  • sad
  • anxious, worried or panicky
  • more tired than usual or being unable to sleep
  • angry, irritable or frustrated
  • low on confidence or self-esteem
If you have a low mood that lasts 2 weeks or more, it could be a sign of depression.

Other symptoms of depression may include:

  • not getting any enjoyment out of life
  • feeling hopeless
  • not being able to concentrate on everyday things
  • lack of motivation
  • having poor memory
  • reduced appetite
  • having suicidal thoughts or thoughts about harming yourself or others
Dr Sophie’s video – Depression

Luckily there are things you can try that may help with low mood and depression.

Search NHS Better Health “Every Mind Matters”

Here you will find expert advice, practical tips, and plenty of help and support if you’re stressed, anxious, low or struggling to sleep

Talk to someone

Talking to a trusted friend, family member, colleague, or contacting a helpline, counsellor or health professional about our feelings can help us when we are struggling.

Be in the moment

Taking time to be in the present moment, noticing our own thoughts and feelings, and the world around us, can give us better perspective. This is known as being more mindful, or mindfulness.

Dr Sophie’s video – Mindfulness and Meditation

Increase helpful activity

Low mood can stop us doing important jobs or activities we find enjoyable. Try listing these things and doing some each day.

Start with easier ones and, as you progress, your mood should improve.

Get better sleep

Low mood can make us feel tired, and tiredness can also have a bad impact on our mood. Watch NHS Better Health’s video for tips to improve your sleep and create a better routine.

Video: Tips for sleeping better

Boost your mood with music

Music can be a powerful way to change our feelings. See if you can create a playlist to listen to when feeling low – start with slower choices and gradually move to faster, uplifting songs. This can help your mood to gradually lift too.

Get moving for your mental wellbeing


One of the best things you can do for your mental health and wellbeing is to be active – it’s a natural mood booster.

Our bodies release feel-good hormones when we’re active that can also reduce anxiety and stress, and help us sleep better. If you can, doing little things every day to be more active – like taking the stairs instead of a lift, or standing up to stretch your legs every so often when sitting down for long periods – can really lift your mood.

Try self-help CBT techniques

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a type of talking therapy that aims to change the way we think and act in order to help cope with and manage problems we may face in our lives.

It is based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings and behaviour are closely linked and influence each other.

If we have unhelpful thoughts and feelings, this can lead to unhelpful behaviour, which can turn into a vicious cycle of further negative thoughts and so on.

CBT aims to help us learn to recognise these unhelpful patterns, and break down and approach problems in a different way to improve how we feel.

Local Options for Self Referral 

Everyturn Mental Health and NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Talking Therapies are both local services who offer support for people experiencing common mental health problems.

Everyturn Mental Health

Everyturn Mental Health, formerly Insight Healthcare, provide free and confidential talking therapies and counselling to anyone aged 17+ who is registered with a GP in the Peterborough and Cambridgeshire area. They offer help to people who are experiencing common mental health problems, such as low mood, depression, anxiety or stress.

0300 555 0888

NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Talking Therapies

This service provides help to people aged 17 and over who are experiencing common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety disorders, including: generalised anxiety disorder (GAD); social anxiety; post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); health anxiety; panic; phobias and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). However, you do not need a diagnosis to access the service and we also see people with problems such as stress, low confidence, sleep disturbance and self-esteem issues. There is no upper age limit for people accessing our service.

0300 300 0055

In a Crisis?

If you have seriously harmed yourself or you feel that you may be about to harm yourself, call 999 for an ambulance or go straight to A&E. Or, if you are unable, ask someone else to call 999 or take you to A&E.

First Response Service (FRS)

FRS supports people experiencing a mental health crisis.  It provides 24-hour, seven days a week, 365 days a year access to mental health care, advice and support. By calling 111, and selecting option 2 you will be put through to a member of FRS who will speak to you and discuss your current mental health needs.

Dial 111 and choose option 2

Samaritans

Whatever you’re going through, a Samaritan will face it with you. We’re here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Call 116 123 for free

Local Online Service

Keep Your Head

Keep Your Head brings together reliable information on mental health and wellbeing for children, young people, adults, professionals, and schools across Cambridgeshire & Peterborough.

Still need help?

If you have moderate to severe depression, and self-help has not improved things, your GP may recommend combinations of antidepressant medication, talking therapies or a referral to a Psychiatrist.

Antidepressants are a type of medicine used to treat depression, other mental health conditions and sometimes chronic pain.

If you think you would benefit from antidepressant medicine speak to your GP.

Dr Sophie’s video – Antidepressants

Help for suicidal thoughts

If you have seriously harmed yourself or you feel that you may be about to harm yourself, call 999 for an ambulance or go straight to A&E. Or, if you are unable, ask someone else to call 999 or take you to A&E.
If you're feeling like you want to die, it's important to tell someone.

Phone a helpline

These free helplines are there to help when you’re feeling down or desperate.

Unless it says otherwise, they’re open 24 hours a day, every day.

You can also call these helplines for advice if you’re worried about someone else.

First Response Service (FRS)

FRS supports people experiencing a mental health crisis.  It provides 24-hour, seven days a week, 365 days a year access to mental health care, advice and support. By calling 111, and selecting option 2 you will be put through to a member of FRS who will speak to you and discuss your current mental health needs.

Dial 111 and choose option 2

Samaritans

Whatever you’re going through, a Samaritan will face it with you. We’re here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Call 116 123 for free

Campaign Against Living Miserably

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) are taking a stand against suicide.

Call 0800 58 58 58

Papyrus Prevention of Young Suicide

PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide is the UK charity dedicated to the prevention of suicide and the promotion of positive mental health and emotional wellbeing in young people.

Call 0800 068 41 41

Shout Crisis Text Line

Shout 85258 is a free, confidential, anonymous text support service. You can text from wherever you are in the UK.

Text “SHOUT” to 85258

How can I help someone else living with low mood or depression?

There are lots of things you can do to support someone you know who might be struggling with their mental health.

Find out how you can support others, and why it can make a big difference, plus find out what you can do if they need more support.

Some other useful links: