Questionnaire: Reflecting on feelings of sadness

Feelings of sadness and hopelessness are common. These feelings are a normal reaction to different events in life that many people experience. Sometimes, these feelings may come and go, while other times, they may seem to stick around. You can use this questionnaire as a way to check in with yourself and assess how you may be feeling in the moment. This questionnaire can also help you:

  • understand how big an issue feelings of sadness may be for you
  • identify feelings and experiences you may not have noticed before
  • discover what type of resource or support may be helpful to you
  • describe your feelings when sharing them with Kids Help Phone or someone else you trust

At the end of the questionnaire, you can learn more about ways to get support for mental and emotional well-being. Remember, deciding if, when and how you’d like to access support is completely up to you.

Take the questionnaire

How often have you been bothered by each of the following things during the past two weeks?

Consider if you’ve experienced any of these a) not at all, b) for several days, c) more than half the days or d) nearly every day.

  1. Feeling down, depressed, irritable or hopeless
  2. Little interest or pleasure in doing things
  3. Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or sleeping too much
  4. Poor appetite, weight loss or overeating
  5. Feeling tired, or having little energy
  6. Feeling bad about yourself, feeling that you’re a failure or feeling that you’ve let yourself or your family down
  7. Trouble concentrating on things like schoolwork, reading or watching TV
  8. Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed
  9. Being so fidgety or restless that you’re moving around a lot more than usual
  10. Thoughts that you’d be better off dead, or of hurting yourself in some way

Reflect on your responses

If you responded “not at all” or “for several days” to many of these experiences, you can use the following resources for times if and/or when you do have feelings of sadness.


If you responded “more than half the days” or “nearly every day” to many of these experiences, exploring the following resources for more information and support may be helpful.

You can browse any of the resources listed above whenever you’d like! We’re sharing them to help you understand and respond to how you may be feeling in the moment.

Only you know if something is becoming a concern in your life. Talking to other people who know you well and care for you can also help you think about how you’re doing.

Sometimes, the words sadness and depression are used interchangeably (e.g. saying “I feel depressed” to describe temporary feelings of sadness, etc.), but sadness and depression are different. Although it’s normal to feel sad from time to time, depression is deeper, longer lasting and often impacts all of your experiences. We want to let you know that only a psychologist, psychiatrist or doctor can make a diagnosis related to depression.

To check in with yourself even further, you can also ask yourself the following questions:

  1. In the past year, have you felt depressed or sad most days, even if you felt OK sometimes?
  2. If you’re experiencing any of the items in the questionnaire, how difficult have these issues made it for you to do your work, take care of things at home or get along with other people?

Often, if an issue is causing you distress, or has been going on for a long time, it can be helpful to learn more about it or talk to someone you trust for support, like Kids Help Phone or a safe adult. You can also explore the following resources for more information:

Occasionally, some people may feel hopeless, overwhelmed, like they can’t cope with what they’re facing in life and/or be thinking about suicide. You can ask yourself:

Has there been a time in the past month when you’ve had serious thoughts about ending your life?

If you’ve experienced thoughts of suicide, help and hope is available — you’re never alone. It’s important to reach out to a safe adult (e.g. a parent/caregiver, doctor, etc.) or a support service (e.g. Kids Help Phone, the local programs listed on Resources Around Me, etc.) to talk about what’s going on for you. And if you’re in immediate danger, you can call 911 or contact the emergency services in your area for help. Remember, support is available in different ways across Canada.

Need more information or support? You can contact Kids Help Phone 24/7.

Note: This tool is adapted from the PHQ-A.


Johnson, J. G., Harris, E. S, Spitzer, R. L. & Williams, J. B. (2002). Validation of an Instrument for the Assessment of Mental Disorders among Adolescent Primary Care Patients. Journal of Adolescent Health, 30(3), 196-204.

Spitzer, R. L., Kroenke, K. & Williams, J. B. (1999). Validation and Utility of a Self-report Version of PRIME-MD, JAMA, 282(18), 1737-1744.