Sufferers of depression are being urged to seek help as a new poll found the majority of people in the UK are affected by the illness at some point.
Three out of four people say they have been depressed, but only a third sought help.
The level was particularly high among women, with 80% saying they often or occasionally feel down or unable to cope.
The recession is pinpointed as a major cause, with half of those surveyed saying money has caused them mental anguish over the last 12 months.
Men are particularly likely to have linked their depression to the cash worries, whereas women have been worried about family or relationships.
January is regarded as the most depressing month of the year, caused by post-Christmas credit card bills and cold weather.
Zelda Peters, Director for Mental Health at the charity Turning Point, said even mild depression needs to be identified and treated early.
"We know that, if diagnosed early, mild depression can be successfully treated.
"If not, it can escalate and lead to unemployment or long-term sickness, and even to negative behaviours such as drinking more, missing work or college and lying to family and friends.
"Most people think anti-depressants are the answer and for some people they are.
"But there are a huge range of treatments beyond this on offer, such as psychological therapies which provide effective long-term relief."
Copyright © Press Association 2010
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