Living with a black dog

Millions of people around the world live with depression. “Living with a black dog” is a guide for partners, carers and sufferers of depression. It advises those living with and caring for people with depression on what to do, what not to do, and where to go for help.

“Living with a black dog” is a follow-up to “I had a black dog, his name was depression,” which offers practical advice for coming to terms with and overcoming depression.

Both videos were produced by writer and illustrator Matthew Johnstone in collaboration with WHO, and were based on books of the same name.

To view “I had a black dog, his name was depression,” please visit:

For more information on mental health, please visit:

Disclaimer: This video may contain links and references to third party-websites. WHO is not responsible for, and does not endorse or promote, the content of any of these websites and the use thereof.

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Comment (283)

  1. I really need german subtitles.. I want to show this video to my mom because she doesn't know what she could do about my depression and i really can't eplain it to her. please!!!!! i need this! 🙂
    this video is so great!

  2. Sería importante que ésta versión lo tuvieran con audio latino. Lo menciono porque hay ocasiones en que algunas personas no alcanzan a leer. Yo trabajo en el área de promoción y prevención en Salud Mental en Jalisco, México. Muchas gracias @World Health Organization

  3. I guess I am a little upset with this reference–ah if only I was a bit more literate and could know the meaning of Jonghyun's tattoo. Black Dog = Depression. Why it was not more known here?

  4. My maths teacher told me to watch the two black dog videos today. And it's just kinda hit me how much she actually realises what's going on without me even having said anything. I really needed this

  5. Depression is nothing like a black dog, Dogs are freindly, loyal and
    bring comfort, thanks to you bunch of cunts everytime i see a black dog i
    am now instantly reminded that I have mental health problems and it
    brings me down for the rest of the day. Whoever decided that this would
    be a good idea is an absolute cunt, Typical shit policys from a bunch
    of arseholse who know nothing about mental health,


  7. Thank you for this video. When I saw the name of this video I was shocked and thought you saw the inside of my mind because the night before I tried to take my own life I actually saw a black hound and although I knew this was one of my hallucinations it scared me and I ran to my room crying uncontrollably. I will ensure my husband watches this video because I want him to understand what I am going through and also because I have shut him out for a longtime although I knew he deserved none of this. It is usally the people closest to us that are more affected by such situations as did my husband because at some point it starts to rub off on them too, not knowing how to deal with it. I love my husband and don't want him to suffer because of my black dog. All I want is my life back.

  8. I got this depression everyday for 10 years until now, please pray for me 🙁 . I know I am strong for staying alive this far but i don't know when will these all end 🙁

  9. I've been in a relationship with a person carrying the "black dog" for just over 3 months now. I must admit, it's been hard: I myself struggle with the feeling that I'm not loved by this person, and that they don't want to talk to me or spend time with me because they hate me. I've learned that that isn't the case: her depression is incredibly strong, she's had quite a rough life (she was adopted which contributed a lot to her depression.) In fact, it's her depression which has made her act in that way. I know she loves me, and to anyone else who's in a similar situation with their partner, people with depression need you the most, and they will remain loyal because you mean everything to them. That extra bit of help you give them is going to mean everything to them. The last point on this video is incredibly important: "don't give up".

  10. Depression is nothing like a black dog, Dogs are loyal freindly and loving. This is a an attempt to group think everybody with mental health problems instead of treating everybody like an individual. Black dogs are one of the most common things you see in the UK, running across the square in the opening scenes of eastenders, pubs everywhere, I see at least 2 or 3 black dogs a day in my life . This is just an attempt to subliminally implant a trigger into everyones heads. Every time you see a black dog you will be reminded of your mental health isuues as if they are genuinely following you. you will never be free. This is being pushed by people who have absolutely no idea what it nis like to have depression graduates who learnt everything they know from a text book with no real life understanding of mental health.

    By externalising your mental health issue, you are running away from it, mental health issues are not things that follow you outside of your body, this is simpply an attempt to dissasociate you from yourself, making it easier to manipulate you and trigger you off.

  11. I was fully on board with this until the issue of cost came up – in some cases, part of being depressed is an inability to pay for basic necessities, and feeling powerless because someone else is helping you do so. Tacking on yet another expense seems like it would be monumentally counterproductive in that scenario.
    The advice overall is damned good – but just wanted to point that portion out.

  12. It's also easy to see narcissism instead of depression, a depressed person can be very self-obsessed and insular, they can be incredibly selfish.

    It's important for the carer/partner to take care of themselves, but it's hard because the depressive will see that as rejection, they may also be somewhat paranoid or delusional due to lack of confidence and all the negative self-talk in their head making them tend to accuse you of things you haven't done and doubt your true feelings.

    It's often incredibly hard to live with someone during a breakdown, but of course there's very little professional help or consideration for the carer/partner, which is why so many relationships where severe depression is a factor, fail despite any amount of love and compassion, empathy and desire to help and understand on the part of the partner/carer.

    Get help early. Talk to the right people. Let go of the belief that it's your problem to fix. Understand that everything you say, or do, may be criticised. Like it says, try not to get sucked into the vortex and honour your own needs.

    Finally, remember that life is short. If it becomes too much, be prepared to let go and move on, it could be the best solution for all concerned.

  13. I always did get back home on a Monday after the weekend with my boyfriend. I left that day when he needed me the most so I had such regret and yesterday I talked with him (how much I could) that I will always be there for him and he finally said something to me (he was so quiet this weekend and didn't touch me or looked at me). He didn't love me anymore as he used too in the beginning but he still cares about me so much he said. He still wants me in his life but he didn't want to drag me with him with his black dog (he knows I'm insecure and sensitive too, still I told him I can be strong enough to support both of us). This is one of the most difficult times in my life and I'm just 23 and he's 25. I hope I can be there for him when he needs me or wants to see me. He told me he still wants to see me sometimes, I hope that means he will always be my family (we were 3 years and 7 months together and he was my real first good love so he means the world to me). We hugged and kissed for the last time while crying. He's so sweet and funny but without a job and not that much personal contact, I can understand a little bit of what he is going through. I really hope he searches for help when he makes that choice himself. I will always support him, no matter what. Ohana 🌸

  14. But dogs are therapy. Title and idea makes no sense at all. What next? A black sloth? Cutest creature ever?

    Excuse me but I want to smack the originator of this dumb idea.

    Come up with a better description for this issue because dogs and depression, generally do not relate.

  15. Thank you so much for this. My partner ( a none dog lover) seems to have got their own black dog and doesn't know what to do with it. As a health professional and a trained mental health nurse they're struggling to follow the right path and I'm doing my best to be supportive but this video has helped me tremendously. I'll talk with then about this video, and, if they feel it appropriate, I'll share it with them.

  16. It's hard to take someone who claims they have depression seriously on the internet bc a lot of people on the internet have "fake depression" meaning they're just pretending to be depressed and sad to get attention. That's realyl sad, to be honest.

  17. Thank you, thank you World Health Organization (WHO) for this simply wonderful site. Five years ago at the age of 70 I went to my internist in Seattle. I was 10 years into retirement and really struggling. After listening to my story my doctor prescribed Zoloft and asked me to come back to see him in a month. When I returned he asked, "well, how do you feel?" I responded, "I was feeling so much better." He then asked, "well, how does it feel to be NORMAL?"

    In 2017 I was living in Idaho. I was having problems breathing so my wife took me to see my internist. After a preliminary exam he asked me, "what are you doing tomorrow?" I responded, "why nothing". He then said, "good, I am admitting you to the hospital to have a pacemaker implanted." The day after surgery my cardiologist told me I was born with a Patent Foramen Ovale [PFO].

    I will be 75 on July 4th and will have been married for almost 25 years. I am grateful for every day. My wife saved my life and all my doctors gave me a life.


  18. Very important message and very good advise. I fully support it; however, it hurts to see a dog being taken as the analogy for depression. Pets are key family members. The analogy risks creating a negative stigma around dogs, which unfortunately may trigger negative behavior towards our loyal 4-leged friends.

  19. This is such a useful metaphor of depression as "Black Dog" but it really sucks that actual Black dogs and cats are often the last adopted, reflecting our unconscious bias towards everything that is Black. In this sense, this comparison deepens our prejudice towards, and rejection of Black animals (and even people).

  20. I have a black dog right now but this video is really making me think
    Like the others have said it’s brought me to tears but I’m sure I’m going to beat this
    Thank you x

  21. All government leaders (which in modern day there aren't many credible ones), need to start putting the mental health of all it's people AHEAD of money, greed, corruption, fiscal policies, trade deals and budgets, etc…….

  22. simplify..
    my parents gave me 3x chores.. it stresses me out.
    i hate this life style it is really bad because they don't even believe me..
    and i don't have anyone to talk with since my "friends" ghosted me for not being with them..


  24. Thank you WHO for giving attention to plight of Depressive people ,they need our help support and care emotional or otherwise ,my elder brother has been suffering from depression since 1996 ,but with continuous treatment and medication he's is somewhat normal now ,but these anti depressent medicine have a very bad side affects on general health particularly cardiac health

  25. The black dog theory explains it very well.Thank you for this kind video.mental health is so crucial to be maintained as our whole lives evolve around it. It's like the video said the dog can be contained ,and you can be in control of the doggy not the other way around. A reality i have learned is that the dog is with you for just about your whole life however the dog cannot control you if you don't feed it, which takes skill that you learn along the way.💚

  26. Ive carried my black dog for 45 years to date. The cost of me seeing a professional is the choice of eating and paying rent or going to a $$$ endless pit of debt that I cannot afford. The pain is all the more difficult due to past abuse problems that lawyers tell me "without proof it never happened" , " We wont help you ". As a male there is a total affirmation that is drummed into our skulls " you live to work and provide and then you die , your life means nothing." I cannot afford to not work lest my family suffers , by that I mean no food, cars repossessed , eviction , as my wife is between jobs and hasnt had steady employment for over 2 years, she also spent most of our savings in those last few years because she felt worthless not having a job but still wanted to be normal. I manage to push my depression down , but it is always there and I always feel it in the back of my head just waiting come out every single day . I am sick of it , it is never gone from my head long enough for me to catch a break , but Im just a man who has to provide for his family , my life is nothing but to do or die. I dont fear hell , I live it day by day, but I wont abandon my family even if it costs me my life's blood they are worth the pain I endure , they keep me focused on what is important.

  27. I have a black dog for more than a decade. It's worse n worse ..and this time is the worst, I always avoid doctor and said to my self "It will pass, it's just a phase" but it seems not working this time. I have made appointment with the doctor finally, wish me luck!

  28. Zu erkennen, das man eine Depression hat, sehr lang gedauert ,sie zu für sich akzeptieren dauert an.Ich arbeite mit ihr und manchmal dagegen, wasmir nicht gut tut.Ich bin jetzt 1 Jahr aus der Klinik . jetzt gab es 2Tage ganze böse triggerrückfälle, ich glaube da kommt was was hoch was man bearbeiten kann..
    Es gibt keinen Königsweg. Es geht nicht über eine ..ein erkennen der Krankheit.


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