Grief and depression – what’s the difference?

Grief is what happens to us when we’ve lost something important to us.

The thing you’ve lost can be a person (the person may have died, or moved away, or there has been a breakup) or something else (like a job, or a house). When you’re grieving, you can still feel happy some of the time. Grief can take months or years, but it usually gets easier after a while.

Grief is a natural process.

 It’s normal for people to feel grief when they lose something. Not everyone needs counselling for grief, although for a lot of people it helps to talk about it. But for some people, grief can lead to depression.

Depression is when someone is sad most of the time, for a long time (a month or more).

This can happen after a difficult life event, but it may be for other reasons like genetics or brain chemicals. Sometimes people who are depressed can feel numb (they don’t feel anything), and can’t enjoy anything they used to like. They may feel tired a lot of the time, they eat much more or less than they used to, and sleep more or less than they used to.

Depression might not go away on its own. If depression is serious, it can affect your life, and make it hard for you to study or work or interact with people. If you are depressed, it’s important to get help. Speak to a trusted adult, counsellor, social worker or psychologist about how you are feeling.

For more about depression, read our article Feeling sad all the time? You could be depressed

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