Depression is sadness that does not go away and starts to affect your daily activities.

What is depression?

Depression is sadness that does not go away and starts to affect your daily activities. It is common after stroke and is a medical illness that can be treated.

After a stroke, it is normal to feel:

  • Grief
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Sadness
  • Fear

These feelings can affect how you view life and how you cope with recovering after stroke.

Having thoughts of ending your life? Call your doctor, a helpline or 911 right away!  You can find emergency phone numbers on the first page of the phone book.

What causes depression after stroke?

A stroke sometimes changes the chemical balance in your brain. This can cause depression.

Learn the warning signs of depression.

Only a doctor can diagnose you with depression, but others may be able to tell if you are showing signs of depression.

Talk to your health care provider if you have two or more of these warning signs for more than two weeks:

  • feeling hopeless, ashamed or guilty about being a burden
  • loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • changes in your sleep pattern
  • changes in appetite
  • changes in weight
  • feeling restless, irritable or impatient
  • constant or frequent headaches, stomach upset or pain
  • difficulty concentrating
  • feeling tired, sluggish or lacking energy

You may be asked to complete a series of questions about how you feel.  There are different questionnaires that a healthcare provider might use to determine if you have depression.

How can I manage my depression?

Depression can be treated. It is important to get help for depression as soon as possible. Many people find it hard to talk about their feelings with others. However, getting treatment from a skilled health care provider(s) will help with your recovery. The treatment you receive will depend on your needs.

Treatment may include counselling, taking medicines or both.


Having read the information in this section, consider the following:

  • Have I lost interest in things I used to enjoy?
  • Has there been a change in my behaviour or personality?
  • Do I have trouble sleeping?
  • Do I sleep more than usual?
  • Has my appetite changed?
  • Do I have difficulty concentrating?
  • Do I feel hopeless?
  • Have I had thoughts about ending my life?
  • Do I know where to get help if I answered ‘yes’ to any of the questions above?

Where to get more information, help and support:

Toronto Central Healthline

Mental Health Helpline 1-866-531-2600

Ontario Association of Social Workers

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Ontario Brain Injury Association

Family Service Toronto