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Where can I get depression help?

Learn about depression help options.

Resources for people with depression are widely available. [©Shutterstock, 2010]
©Shutterstock, 2010
Resources for people with depression are widely available.

There are a number of places to turn for help if you are suffering from depression. Initially, many people go to their primary care physician or family doctor for depression help. A physician can suggest a course of treatment or provide a referral to a mental health specialist. In times of crisis, the emergency room can provide temporary help and advice on options for further treatment. If you have thoughts of hurting yourself, a local or national suicide hot line such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) can be an immediate resource for help.

Other mental health resources include:

The National Insitute of Mental Health maintains information, resources, and links to regional and local help:

  • Mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers or counselors
  • Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) or insurance providers
  • Community mental health centers
  • Hospital psychiatry departments
  • Mental health programs at universities or medical schools
  • State hospital outpatient clinics
  • Family services, social agencies or clergy
  • Peer support groups
  • Private clinics
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Local medical and/or psychiatric societies
  • You can also check the phone book under "mental health," "health," "social services," "hot lines" or "physicians" for phone numbers and addresses.

Once you seek medical help, your physician is likely to suggest treatment either through prescription antidepressants, counseling or both. The antidepressant your doctor recommends will depend on your medical history, what other medicines you may be taking, and your symptoms. The effectiveness and side effects of different antidepressants often depend on the individual, so if you have had success with an antidepressant in the past or had troublesome side effects from taking a particular antidepressant, it will likely factor into your doctor’s decision.

The type of counseling your doctor may recommend depends on the nature of the problems contributing to your depression and your own behavior. Your doctor may recommend one of the various forms of individual therapy used for treating depression, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy and interpersonal therapy. In other cases, group therapy such as family or marital counseling may be preferable. When a doctor suspects a patient is at a high risk for suicide, he or she might recommend a hospital.

Finding the suitable treatment for your needs may take time, but you shouldn’t delay seeking help. In some cases the symptoms of depression can stem from a distinct medical condition, so a diagnosis that confirms that depression is the problem is the first step toward recovery. Once you’re certain that your condition is indeed a form of depression, specialists can help you to determine the best course of treatment for your needs.

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