St Nicks

Centre for nature and green living

Depression: let’s talk

Depression as a Black Dog (illustration by
Winston Churchill made frequent references to his depression, which he named his “black dog” historically it has been referenced in this way before. Matthew and Ainsley Johnstone have created a couple of great illustrated books on the theme, which you can find at

In honour of today’s World Health Day on the theme of Depression, our Volunteer Co-ordinator Maria Gill has put together this blog. Maria works closely with our Ecotherapy project manager Kathy. We hope you find the information useful.

What is depression?

Depression can feel differently depending on who is experiencing it; generally it is thought of as feeling sad or low for an elongated period of time. We all feel in low spirits from time to time but these feelings of sadness will usually pass. If these feeling persist or commonly reoccur, it could be a sign of depression. In its mildest form depression can cause someone to experience a low mood, though this might not stop someone from continuing with their normal, day to day routine, it can make it feel much harder both physically and emotionally and usual activities seem to have less meaning. In severe cases, it can lead to personal isolation and make an individual feel they no longer want to live.

Who can get depression?

Depression can affect anyone no matter their age, gender or lifestyle and it is actually more common than many people realise. It is thought that 5-10% of all people in the UK are suffering from depression in one form or another at any one time.

What might depression look like?
There are many signs that may indicate depression. Some symptoms include:

This list is in no way exhaustive and one person may not show the same signs of depression as another-each individuals experience will be different. However, you may be able to build resilience to depression by focusing on general wellbeing.

Although depression affects many people and can be extremely serious, it is treatable. This does not mean that someone can just ‘pull themselves together’ or will tell themselves to simply ‘snap out’ of their depression. For those suffering with the illness, help needs to be sought. Sometimes, this may be reaching out to someone and talking, for others, professional help might be necessary but it is important to know that there is help out there whether that be confiding in a loved one or talking to a professional, there is support for everyone.


Bearing Fruit volunteers

ecotherapy group volunteers

St Nicks can help with Ecotherapy!
Here at St Nicks, we are dedicated to improving mental and physical well-being though our Ecotherapy project. Ecotherapy provides an opportunity to improve your mental health by taking part in activities that get you outside, experiencing nature and the benefits that it offers. Not only does this provide a chance to work and engage with others but we can offer 1-to-1 mentoring and support. With a variety of activities from gardening to creative writing, if you have an interest in nature, there will be a session suitable for you! If would like further information, email
Five steps to mental wellbeing
St Nicks offers support for anyone dealing with depression or other mental health issues but it is even better to try and prevent needing our support by following these simple steps. According to research, they can really help to boost our mental wellbeing. For more information about them, please see the NHS website from which we have borrowed these:

If you feel like you cannot cope on your own, remember you are not alone and help is out there. It is incredibly important that you speak to someone and seek support.

If you think someone you know might be suffering from depression, be open about the issue. Talk to that person and more importantly listen, without judgement. Help that person to find the support they need.

Other useful links:

Please get in touch for more information about Ecotherapy and how St Nicks could help you. Here is a tongue in cheek video we rather like, which sums up how much we need nature in our lives in a funny way – we hope you enjoy it:


7 April 2017 | Categories: Inspiration | Tags: depression, ecotherapy, mental health, wellbeing, world mental health day