What is it?

Depression is a very common form of mental ill health which can become serious and debilitating if left without the appropriate support.

For some gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men, it can be ‘paralysing’ and prevent them enjoying the company of others, going to work or enjoying their usual hobbies and social activities.

Why am I experiencing depression?

There are many reasons why you might be experiencing depression, ranging from some level of learned helplessness where a problematic situation in your personal or professional life is perceived as “personal” (“it’s about me”), permanent (“its forever”) and pervasive (“it affects everything”) through to a reactive depression (reacting to the end of a relationship or a bereavement, for example).

Depression may also be the result of some chemical imbalance that affects the functioning of the brain. This is referred to as ‘Clinical Depression’.

What signs might I notice?

Signs you might notice include:

  • low mood
  • apathy
  • poor concentration
  • irritability
  • insomnia
  • early waking or oversleeping
  • inability to relax
  • weight gain or weight loss
  • loss of pleasure in usual activities
  • feelings of low self-worth
  • excessive guilt
  • recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

How might I be assessed?

If you feel you might be experiencing depression and would like some help, our SRP Choices team can assess where you are in terms of what type of support you may need and what service would be most appropriate for you.

How might I be supported if I have depression?

For times when you just need someone to talk through an issue you feel depressed about, or have need for more intensive support, we can provide one-off “listening ear” sessions to prevent issues escalating. We can also offer short-term counselling sessions for more difficult issues, or refer you to more intensive support services if your needs are more complex.

As well as counselling or psychotherapy, your GP may also prescribe you with medication to treat depression.

How can I avoid feeling depressed?

If you think your depression is quite mild, you could try increasing your mental activity – taking up a new hobby, planning a trip or spending time with people who make you feel good are all effective ways to make yourself feel better.

Depression can make also you feel very isolated and alone – but you don’t have to be alone. Ask for help when you need it. Depression is becoming more widely accepted and treatable all the time.

What if I’m HIV positive?

Although anyone can suffer from depression, it is twice as common among those of us who are HIV positive. Around one in three people living with HIV have some symptoms of depression at some point in their lives.

Despite these figures, depression is not an inevitable aspect of HIV infection but it could be triggered if you feel anxious, or uncertain about your future.

It is also possible that you could suffer from depression without realising it. 

Where can I get help?

If you think you may be experiencing depression and would like some help to overcome it, click on the SRP Choices page.