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Gap Year to improve depression?

Hi there,


So I have a form of depression, I reckon it's mild yet I feel as if it's progressing into something worse, 

and I have seen counsellors and regularly a psychologist so that helps.


But my question I need some advice and perspective on is: should I take a gap year after VCE year 12 to improve my depression? As right now I feel so stressed and pre ocupied by homework and assignments and with the little energy I have 

I'm not making much change. 


might have some anixety too.

Anyone got experience on a gap year they took to improve this problem?


Re: Gap Year to improve depression?

Hey Nightsky,


I don't have any experience taking a Gap Year since I'm still in my last year of schooling but I think it is a great idea. Do you know what you want to do after you finish? If you don't, taking a gap year can help you delve into the stuff you find interesting to try and find the thing you want to do. Or, if you do, taking a gap year can help prepare you for your future, just give you that much needed break for you to travel, have new experiences, meet people and so on. 

I think it will help you to improve your depression, just so long as you don't spend the year doing absolutely nothing, which would probably cradle your depression until it's ready to come out again. 


Like I said, I don't have much experience but I hope something I said has helped you. Good luck Smiley Happy



Re: Gap Year to improve depression?

I never had a gap year, but then again, I wasn't diagnosed with depression until this year, although I've been suffering from it for at least 8 years.

If you decide not to have a gap year, but you're too anxious to go full time, don't hesitate to start as a part time student. If you're still seeing a psychologist, you can register for disability support services. They have helped me immensely.

Actually, I recommend you look at doing something similar with your school so as it is easier to cope with the study / assignment load.

Goodluck with it all. Smiley Happy

My entire life can be described in one sentence: It didn't go as planned and that's okay. ツ

Re: Gap Year to improve depression?

Hey @Nightsky


Are you seeing anyone regularly about your depression like a counsellor or a psych?


Uni can be stressful and if you feel that you wouldnt be able to do your best or your main goal is getting yourself on the right track beforehand then it could be a good idea to take some time off


I agree with what has been said though, you seem pretty active in your helpseeking so it might not be a problem but you could make a plan or some goals of what kind of progress you want to make and what steps you will take towards this progress because just relaxing for a week can very easily and quickly turn into months!



Theres some info here on taking a gap year and while they arent specifically about taking it for mental health reasons they do note that its helpful after the stress of final year of high school, getting some much needed rest,  and how some people just need some time to figure out their life direction before jumping into uni - if they decide to do uni at all

Taking a Gap Year

Bridging the gap



Let us know what you think!




Ps is your username from chvrches song "night sky"? I love that song!



Re: Gap Year to improve depression?

That's a really interesting idea @Nightsky 

What would you envision doing in a gap year - working or just hanging out and focusing on your recovery? You could start uni part time in the first year if you wanted, just to see how you cope with the workload and the stress. I took a gap year after high school and before uni. I did a short prac-based TAFE course then worked for the rest of the year. It was cool but it did get me a little out of practice for study when I started uni!


Re: Gap Year to improve depression?

My only advice would be to have some firm goals in place. The time goes quick and you don't want to be in my situation.

I went straight into uni doing something you're interest in. I left, started working full time and only recently got back into study.

The thing is, because I'm working, I can only study part-time off campus. It takes so much longer and I don't get any of the social benefits of uni.

My suggestions would be:

1) Learn something you may not use as a career but just because it's genuinely interesting (photography, visual art, writing, Fitness etc) or

2) Develop some sort of intensive therapy plan with your psychologist (although this does cost $$), it would involve weekly sessions with a good amount of "homework"

3) Travel. You could do a working holiday like at a summer camp in the US.

4) Put in the effort to establish a good support network after school ends. This one is hard with depression and I fell in the trap of pushing good friends away. Once you're out of school, you do need to put some work into maintaining good friends or finding a new group altogether.

These suggestions might not be right for you. This is just based on my experience and really a bit of a way to emphasise that a gap year shouldn't be taken for granted as a time to shut down and watch movies for 12 months.

As tempting as doing nothing seems (I love doing nothing!) It is really unhelpful, especially when you have depression.

Good luck for the rest of year 12 Smiley Happy Cherish it.

Re: Gap Year to improve depression?

Oh...I meant to say that "I went straight into uni doing something I had no interest in"

Re: Gap Year to improve depression?

Hey everyone,


thanks for the quick and insightful replies!

I plan as my first preference to do bachelor of psychology (the only courses for it I can find are all full time) while also considering social sciences and teaching.

Thanks for asking on if I seen a psychologist @Hartley_ the answer is yes, every 2-3 weeks and sometimes just a pop in with my school counsellor. And no my username is based on my enjoyment of the night, but I'm into the band and love their cover "Do I want to know", recover and the mother we share

Could anyone suggest some goals they believe would be useful in combating depression, maybe some you used yourself?

@ElleBelle thanks for the Idea of a TAFE course, I will definitely consider it.

Also thanks for the advice @nikko on retaining friends, I'll definitely set that as a priority