A good, clean and clear mind is essential for the wellbeing and progress of any learner in a school. As we grow older, we tend to go through so many changes and experience a whole lot of new things and emotions and sometimes, we just do not really know how to handle all that life brings our way. As youngsters, we tend to react to circumstances differently. Some of us are vocal about our emotions, feelings, while some of us are introvert and therefore shy away from expressing our emotions, thoughts and feelings. The aspect of shying away from expressing our feelings is the core of this article, the element of not speaking up can in most cases lead to depression. Depression can be defined as the state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behaviour, feeling and a sense of well-being.

Depression is essentially a state of mind, and is one of the many forms of mental illness that one can be suffering from. Depression can be brought about by various facts and events in our lives. life events such as the loss/death of a loved one, bullying, financial problems, family disagreements sexual abuse, physical and mental abuse, kidnapping, pressure from family and friends and also the feeling of being neglected by those close to us are just some of the reasons one can become depressed. Within our school environments a lot happens. Often, we find ourselves under pressure from teachers to pass tests and exams while our friends sometimes expect us to do certain things and to live up to certain standards that we are not always able to match up to. Bullying by other students is generally one of the biggest causes of depression within school and therefore we need to report bullying to the right people to protect ourselves and those that may be too timid to report. Some of the symptoms we need to look out for is:

• feeling sad, down, miserable
• Loss of interest
• Low self-esteem ,
• Irritable and intolerant of others
• Suicidal
• Lack of appetite, energy,
• Anti-social behaviour

Depression affects people of all ages, gender and race, and reports indicate that many South African suffer from some form of depression without knowing .Therefore we need to be cautious of the behaviours of those around us. Sensitising teachers and learners about depression and mental illness as early as possible would help create a better learning environment. While depression is a sensitive form of mental illness, and has been one of the contributing factors in a number of the teen deaths across the world, it is a treatable and manageable illness; first-hand experience with depression has taught me this. Tgbkhere are various clinics across the country, including the South African depression and anxiety group that specialise in catering for people with depression. As this academic year continues to accelerate, may we strive to be out brothers keepers, lend a listening ear, and assist those that may need
the helping hand in tackling life’s challenges. Depression should not be the downfall of our fellow brothers.