Depression and low mood are very common problems at all ages and stages.  Around 1 in 10 of us can be depressed and/or anxious at any one time, with around 1 in four people having an episode of depression at some point in their lives.  A low mood is not the same as depression. While a low mood can be passing, depression can become a generalised, chronic feeling, and people need not have had a "bad day" to feel down. Depression can put a strain on almost every aspect of every day, incl a person's ability to work, to build or maintain relationships, and to concentrate on work or other activities.  Depression is the 3rd most common reason for a visit to the GP in the UK, and  it can also be associated with physical health problems if left untreated.Everyone needs easily accessible information that will help them understand depression, and what they can do to take back control and improve how they are feeling. Our informal community course "Stress Busters I (also known as "Blues Busters") aims to do just that for those with mild-moderate levels of depression.  ​​

(Note: "Stress Busters II" offers insights and techniques to manage a low mood, while "Stress Busters I / Blues Busters" offers insights and techniques specifically to manage mild-moderate levels of depression.  However, those who are in crisis, or who have moderate-high levels of depression, are likely to do better with individualised 1-1 CBT counselling; please talk to us in confidence for more information, or your GP. Also check out our "Resources" page for other community and emergency supports.)  


Depression is complex and no two sufferers will experience the exact same symptoms, but there are some general symptoms that are common to this condition, incl a persistent low mood, lack of energy, a reduced interest in life and difficulties focusing or concentrating. Additional symptoms can include: 

  • difficulties connecting with others, and even feeling / expressing love for close family and friends 
  • feelings of anxiety which can be as/more troubling than the feelings of depression and make everyday tasks seem very difficult if even possible 
  • appetite problems which can include loss of appetite, or over-eating  in an attempt to counteract negative feelings 
  • sleep disruption and disturbed sleep patterns, including sleeping more than usual, problems getting off to sleep, or problems waking during the night or early morning 
  • find it difficult or even impossible to concentrate, and have poor short-term memory problems or a sense of absent-mindedness 
  • avoiding others
  • irritability, or a sense of hopelessness and dread about the future.  

Through Stress Busters I we can help you with these problems, in part by taking things one step and one problem at a time.  Above is a commonly used questionnaire measure to assess depression; those scoring above ten are giving scores that indicate at least mild levels of depression.  We often use this measure throughout the Stress Busters I course to assess changes and improvements over time.  

Blues Busters / Stress Busters I is a Level 1 course or initiative within the Mood Managers "I-Can-Manage-Mood" series (see also MoodManagers.com).  This means that this workshop:

  • is an informal, psychology course suitable for delivery within organisations, or community settings for the general public
  • it is a CBT course based on principles from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which are known to be effective in treating depression or low mood
  • those attending gain new skills and insights to take back control and improve how they are feeling primarily by behavioural changes including self-care and physical activity 
  • the content of this course is based on the very latest research evidence, but presented in an informal and relaxed way, and with supporting notes to aid recall and understanding. 

Stress Busters I is for men and women of any and all ages, backgrounds, faiths and cultures.  Attendees may be those who have completed Stress Busters II, and simply want further information on how to self-care. Other attendees may 
have mild-moderate levels of depression, and just want to get insights and techniques that will help them understand why they are feel as they do, and what they can do to take back control and start feeling better.  

Stress Busters I is usually undertaken over one day, or weekly over 5-6 sessions. Day courses can happen anywhere in the UK, or on the island of Ireland - based on invitations from groups and organisations.  Weekly sessions typically are in two parts (of around 90 mins in total):

  • ​the first or main part of each session is the seminar delivered by an experienced course leader. During this seminar, there is no group work or sharing so that the privacy of attendees is protected. 
  • after a short break the last half hour or so is more interactive or practical, e.g. a gentle meditation, or having a question and answer session

What else can you tell me? 

  • People can attend the first session as a stand-alone session to get more information, meet the course leader, and generally see if this course is for them. After the second session however, the course will close, and no one new will join as each week covers new material and it would be too difficult for a new person to catch up.  
  • Class sizes will vary with each venue, but typically there will be around 8-12 people attending each course.  
  • ​Attendees can contribute as much or as little as they wish on courses, e.g. by posting written questions into a mailbox, or by listening rather than speaking in any discussions. At all times it is quite fine simply to say “Ill pass on that” or "no comment"  if you do not wish to contribute to a discussion. 
  • Cost: Stress Busters is privately funded which means each person funds themselves but we do try to keep costs low with concessions available (see our 'shop' tab for costs).


  • Those fully completing Stress Busters I will get a Certificate of Achievement and have the option of doing a personal project (information given at the first session). Those who complete a Personal Project will also get a very prestigious and exclusive Stress Busters I Medal of Achievement!  

Please do get in touch with any queries, or to chat further.