Finding Help for Depression

 

Your doctor is a good place to start when you have depression, but there are also other ways to find the help you need.


Depression is like having a black blanket thrown over you. It can make everything seem dark. You may feel weighted down, and life may seem pointless. At its most extreme, depression can destroy your will to live. (Call 9-1-1 right away if you have thoughts of death or suicide.)

It doesn't have to be that way. Help is available.

It may not be easy to reach out when you feel hopeless, but you owe it to yourself to do so. Seeking help is the first step in beating depression. With treatment, you can throw off depression and enjoy life again.

How can I get help?
Your family doctor may be the best place to start. Sometimes medical problems can cause symptoms like those of depression or other mental health issues. Your doctor can do a physical exam to rule out other causes. If your doctor thinks you have depression, he or she may prescribe antidepressant medication and/or refer you to a mental health professional for talk therapy or other treatment.

Other ways to find a mental health professional include through:

  • Your insurance company. If you have insurance, check with your provider to find out what services are covered and get a list of mental health professionals who are in your network.
  • Employee assistance program (EAP). Some employers offer professional mental health support through an EAP. These services are usually free and confidential.
  • Professional associations. Groups such as the American Psychological Association and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) provide listings of their members. Check their Web sites for qualified therapists in your area.
  • The mental health division of your local health department. You may have to meet certain criteria to get these services. Check the government pages of your phonebook for the number.
  • Your pastor or other spiritual advisor. Some clergy members are trained counselors. Others may help you find support.
  • Family and friends. You might not feel comfortable seeing the same mental health professional as someone you know. In this case, their therapist might be able to recommend someone else for you to see.