Depression Treatment & Counselling

Depression is a common mental health condition that is having an impact on one in seven Australians every day. Depression effects how you think, feel and behave, along with physical symptoms as well.

Depression doesn’t mean just the normal feelings of sadness or feeling low that everyone experiences when life gets difficult. It can be sadness that doesn’t go away, or a loss of interest and lack of motivation that feels prolonged and intense. The good news is depression is treatable and help is available at Brisbane Counselling Centre, with one of the caring professionals. If these feelings last for more than two weeks, it could be depression. If you think you could be depressed, the first step to getting better is talking to someone about it.

What are the common symptoms of depression?

The common signs of depression are:

  • Low mood consistently
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in things you would normally find enjoyable or pleasurable
  • Change in your weight or appetite (an increase or a decrease)
  • Insomnia or sleeping excessively
  • Feelings of restlessness or feelings of slowing down, like thinking and talking slowly for example
  • Feelings of fatigue or a loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness, or excessive or inappropriate guilt
  • Problems concentrating or making decisions
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, or thinking about or attempting suicide

To obtain a diagnosis of clinical depression, these symptoms need to be significantly impacting on one’s functioning across several areas, like work and social interactions for example. Also, these symptoms mustn’t be due to any substance use, any other medical condition or any other psychological condition.

What causes depression?

Depression can be the result of an interaction of several factors including:

  • Stressors – Some examples of stressors or situational factors that can contribute to developing depression are events like reaching certain stages of your life, including puberty, middle age, empty nest or retirement. Another example of a stressor is a personal tragedy like being involved in an accident or the loss of a loved one. A family breaking down, or the loss of a relationship can also make one vulnerable to depression. Likewise feeling trapped, a loss of a job or having a child can lead to depression
  • Biochemical factors – An imbalance of the chemicals in the brain that regulate mood and activity can alter someone’s thoughts, emotions and behaviour, causing depression
  • Genetics – People can inherit a predisposition to develop depression
  • Personality traits – Certain personality types are at an increased risk of developing depression. People who are critical of themselves, are hard on themselves and think negatively about themselves are one of the personality types at risk of developing depression. Likewise, a person who is anxious, highly strung or extremely nervous can be more prone to developing depression. An irritable personality style or someone who becomes frustrated very quickly is at risk of depression. Those people who are socially avoidant or reserved personally are also prone to developing depressive symptoms. Having said this, if you happen to have one of these personality styles, it doesn’t mean you will definitely become depressed
  • Illness or medical conditions – Feeling unwell, even for a short period of time can lower our mood. If one is unwell and it impacts on the quality of your life, it can lead to depression. Some medical conditions like endometriosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue, endocrine disorders such as diabetes and some cancers for example, can contribute to developing depression

Perinatal mental health

Perinatal mental health refers to the psychological and emotional well-being of a person who is expecting a baby or has recently become a parent. Preparing to become a parent and having a baby can impact on one’s mood, behaviour and ability to be able to manage activities of daily living. This refers to the time from conception of the baby (perinatal), pregnancy (antenatal) and up to one year after the birth of the baby (postnatal).

Expectant parents and new parents are commonly affected by anxiety and depression. Research shows that at least one in five women and one in ten men will be affected by depression or anxiety in this period of their life. Whilst these statistics are alarming, the good news is both anxiety and depression are treatable. If left untreated, these conditions can have significant impacts on each member of the family. It’s important to be able to recognise the signs of anxiety and depression and then ask for help as soon as you can, which we understand can be difficult.

As you are expecting your baby, it is normal to feel some anxiety about the pregnancy, your unborn baby, going through the birthing process and how it will be for you to become a parent. This anxiety is to be expected as you developmentally prepare for the changes that will occur physically and mentally with having a baby.

Once you have had your baby, there is the possibility you may feel teary, overwhelmed, worried or irritable. This is commonly referred to as the ‘baby blues’, that are known to affect the majority of new parents. The baby blues tend to resolve themselves within a few days.

If you are finding the ‘baby blues’ are not settling and as a new parent, you are experiencing symptoms that are impacting on your activities of daily living, it’s important to reach out for help and chat with an experienced professional about what is happening for you. Feeling overwhelmed, experiencing low moods, or having thoughts that are distressing – indicate it’s important to talk to your GP or a psychologist about what is happening for you. New parents often feel lonely, isolated and ashamed of how they are feeling. Talking to someone trained in postnatal mental health can really help with these thoughts and feelings. Although it can be scary to take that first step to reach out for help, it’s a courageous step to take for your health, your baby and the health of your family.

What is postpartum psychosis?

Postpartum psychosis is a very serious mental health condition that can occur after the birth of a baby and is treatable. Luckily it is rare, affecting one to two women in every 1000 births. As it is potentially life threatening for the mother and the baby, it’s important to seek psychiatric assistance as soon as possible, where hospitalisation is usually required. It tends to occur in the first four weeks following the birth of a baby but has been known to occur up to three months after the birth. If left untreated, it can continue for months.

Understanding what the signs and symptoms of postpartum psychosis is important, so you can then seek the care and treatment necessary to fully recover from this condition. Postnatal psychosis can suddenly impact a mother’s thinking, mood, behaviour and sleeping patterns. A person with psychosis looses touch with reality, participating in erratic and unusual behaviour. A parent with postpartum psychosis can experience severe mood swings and have suicidal thoughts and/or thoughts about harming their baby. Another symptom of postnatal psychosis is experiencing hallucinations – seeing, smelling or hearing things that are not really there.

If someone you know is experiencing these symptoms following the birth of a baby, seek assistance right away. If you are concerned for the safety of the mother or the baby, call 000 immediately. Seeking help as soon as possible is the best step you can take towards recovery.


When depression is left untreated, a person can be at an increased risk of suicide. If you are feeling suicidal or been experiencing suicidal thoughts, please speak to a professional as soon as possible. Although it may not feel like it right now, your life is worth living. Seeking help will assist in clearing your thoughts in that space and lift the fog that depression can create. You can speak with a GP or call LIfeline on 13 11 14, 24 hours a day.

We can help!

If you can relate to any of these symptoms or you are just struggling with life now, we can help and support you at Brisbane Counselling Centre. Reaching out to a caring and understanding professional trained in mental health will really make a difference to the quality of your life. Seeking care and support early is an essential step towards getting your life back on track and will assist to lighten the load you are feeling.