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Learn the signs, symptoms, and how it is diagnosed and treated.
Format: Multimedia e-learning lesson


Understanding Major Depressive Disorder

In this detailed overview you can read about the symptoms of depression, how it is assessed and diagnosed, as well as treatment options, and questions to ask your health care team.

What is major depressive disorder?

Major depressive disorder is a serious medical illness. It’s more than just a feeling of being sad or “blue” for a few days. The symptoms persist and interfere with your everyday life. It can cause severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. It is an illness that can affect anyone—regardless of age, race, income, culture, or education. It is more common in women and often begins in teens and young adults. There are effective treatments for depression, including talk therapy, antidepressants, or both. 

To learn more about major depressive disorder read our detailed overview.

Curated Resources

Helpful Links and Resources

Expert-selected websites and documents related to depression.

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Health info about depression in older adults from CAMH.

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Mood Disorders Association of Ontario

FAQ about depression.

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Patient and Family Guide to Depression Treatment

Based on the CANMAT 2016 Clinical Guidelines, this PDF provides an overview of treatment options.

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Mood Disorders Society of Canada

Booklet with an easy-to-understand description of depression.

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BounceBack is a free program from the CMHA that helps you build skills to improve your mental health.

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Find Canadian Mental Health Association

Find CMHA in your area.

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Health Quality Ontario Patient Reference Guide

HQO Quality Standard patient reference guide for major depression.

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Explore the Depression Topic

Symptoms of Depression

To learn more about the signs and symptoms of depression read through our detailed overview.

Symptoms Overview

Diagnosis of Depression

The assessment of depression involves a thorough history, physical exam, and other tests - including the potential use of standardized screening tools. It's important to rule out a medical condition or other cause of the symptoms.

Diagnosis Overview


There are a range of different treatments for major depression, including psychotherapy like CBT and medications.

Treatments Overview

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