Chapter 2: Mental health concerns

Depression – What is it and what may cause it

Depression is a medical condition that affects how a person thinks, feels, and acts. It’s different from feeling occasionally sad or “blue” in that it can last for weeks, months, or even years. Fortunately, a combination of medication and therapy can often help.

Causes of depression

The exact cause of depression is not clear. There may be a number of things involved. Click on some possible causes below.


Depression may run in families, but having a relative with depression does not mean you will develop it.





Medications can affect moods, for example, steroids used to treat illness.





Living with advanced illness is extremely stressful. Someone who normally struggles with stress may be more vulnerable to depression.





There may be a connection between chronic (long-term) illness and depression.


Whatever the cause of depression, it’s important to remember that it is a medical condition and not a sign of weakness in a person’s character.