Sadness is an emotion that one experiences when faced with an adverse or unhappy situation or sorrowful event like death of a near one, loss  of  job, poor marks in school or college exams, break up with a friend, etc. Sadness is usually temporary and is a specific reaction of one’s mind to the event. Sadness can be overcome as memories of the  hurtful  event pass away or other good events temporarily  or permanently wipe away the gloomy mood. It is part and parcel of one’s life – constantly coming and going, while etching in our memories the experiences, thus helping us cope better with similar events in our lives. Sometimes one requires the support of near and dear ones – family, friends and teachers/ mentors, etc., depending on the reason for the sadness.

Depression is a mental illness that may be initially linked to a  specific event or multiple events; it is a long- term  problem,  which  is  diagnosed  by a doctor, or person trained in mental health. A depressed person may have one or more of the following symptoms – feels melancholic, low in energy, has sleep disturbances, low appetite, lack of concentration and motivation, feeling of worthlessness and many other symptoms that are prolonged and require external support of specialists. These symptoms persist even when one is in externally positive situations. Depending on the type of depression, one may require specific treatment with external support of professionals as well as colleagues, friends and family.

It is extremely important for parents, friends and colleagues to be familiar with this differentiation between sadness and depression so that one can recognize depression early and seek appropriate support and treatment for the person facing such issues.