Who do i talk to about depression

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Who to talk to about depression

It can be difficult to talk about depression symptoms, but reaching out for help is an important first step. People with depression can talk to licensed mental health professionals as well as friends and family.

Depression is a widespread mental health condition affecting about 5% of adults globally. It can make someone lose interest in the things they once enjoyed and decrease their ability to function at work and at home.

Doctors can treat depression with medication and therapy.

Although talking about depression can be challenging, the sooner people seek treatment, the better their quality of life will be. Individuals can speak with friends and family if possible or contact a counselor, psychiatrist, or another registered medical professional.

Read more to learn about who people can talk to about depression and what they should look for in a mental health professional.

Depression is a relatively common yet treatable mental health condition.

Doctors treat depression with various medications and therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and psychodynamic therapy. Up to 90% of people with depression respond to treatment and gain relief from some of their symptoms.

For most people experiencing symptoms, the first step is talking to a primary care doctor.

The doctor may conduct a mental health screening to learn more about the individual’s mental health. After performing a physical exam to evaluate a person’s overall health, they will ask questions about the person’s feelings, mood, behavior patterns, and any other symptoms they are experiencing.

Depending on the individual’s symptoms, a doctor may refer them to a mental health specialist.

Common types of mental health professionals include:

  • Psychiatrists: A psychiatrist is a fully qualified medical doctor who specializes in mental health. They can diagnose and treat mental health conditions and prescribe medication. Some psychiatrists further specialize in specific areas of mental health such as addiction, eating disorders, and depression.
  • Psychologists: These individuals usually have doctoral degrees instead of medical degrees. They can diagnose and treat mental health conditions, but they generally cannot prescribe medication. They may provide group therapy sessions or one-on-one counseling.
  • Licensed clinical social workers (LCSW): Also called therapists, clinicians, and counselors, these mental health professionals usually have a master’s degree in social work and additional training in mental health conditions. They may diagnose mental health conditions and provide counseling. Although they cannot prescribe medication, they may work with other health professionals who can.
  • Licensed professional counselors: Often, these individuals have a master’s degree, but qualifications vary by country and state. Like LCSWs, people may refer to them as therapists, clinicians, and counselors. They can diagnose mental health conditions and provide counseling, but they cannot prescribe medication.
  • Advanced practice registered nurses: These specially trained nurses have a master’s or doctoral degree in psychiatric nursing. They can assess, diagnose, and treat a range of mental health conditions. Depending on location, they may be able to prescribe medication.

Learn more about different kinds of mental health professionals and what they do.

Finding the right mental health professional can be a challenge. A person’s primary care or family doctor should be able to provide a referral or recommendation to a suitable psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor who will meet their needs.

Various other resources can also help a person find a doctor, including:

  • Health insurance companies: These should have a list of healthcare professionals they cover. People may find this information on the company’s website.
  • Nonprofits: Government websites, mental health organizations, and nonprofits may provide listings of low cost mental health professionals.
  • Employee assistance programs: Some companies with mental health benefits may have an employee assistance program that helps people find a suitable healthcare professional.
  • Friends and family: If a person is unsure where to turn, they may be able to discuss their depression with friends or family before contacting a doctor.

An individual should consider various factors when looking for a mental health professional to help with depression. These include the following:

Specific needs

If a person is experiencing symptoms of depression, they may want to look for a mental health professional who specializes in this condition. People who have a specific issue related to their depression, such as addiction or PTSD, may benefit from consulting someone who focuses on these areas.


Not all mental health professionals have a license to prescribe medication. Therefore, if a person thinks they may need medication, they should choose someone who can provide this service.

Depending on an individual’s circumstances, they may need to see one professional for talk therapy and another to access medication.


If an individual has health insurance, their policy likely specifies certain mental health services that it covers. The insurance company may also limit a person’s choice of doctors to those who are part of their network.

Under these circumstances, a person should check with their insurance company to determine which professionals they cover and the benefit limits.

Personal preferences

Additionally, because it is crucial that individuals feel comfortable talking with a doctor, they should also consider their personal preferences. These factors may include the mental health professional’s gender, cultural background, and religion.

Although doctors can treat depression, at least 75% of people with major depression do not receive adequate treatment. This is largely due to how difficult it can be to access and afford these services.

Thankfully, low cost and free options exist.


Depending on an individual’s location, the following options may provide low cost therapy:

  • therapists or clinics that charge for their service on a sliding scale based on a person’s income
  • federally funded health centers that allow individuals to pay what they can afford
  • colleges and universities that offer low cost therapy to students

Prescription medications

Although medication can be expensive, doctors can recommend generic alternatives that are cheaper. Some pharmacies may also provide savings schemes and discounts.

Additionally, many pharmaceutical companies have assistance programs for people without insurance. The eligibility requirements for these programs vary, and individuals may want to contact pharmaceutical companies directly to enquire about potential help.

People may also find help from NeedyMeds, a nonprofit that helps individuals find assistance programs to cover medication costs.

Finally, people in the United States on low incomes may quality for Medicaid. This federal government program varies by state, but it can cover some mental health treatment costs.

Learn more about free and low cost therapy.

Depression is a serious mental health condition that can negatively impact an individual’s daily life, work, and relationships. People with the condition often require treatment, including therapy and medication.

An individual should consider various factors when choosing a mental health professional. These include their mental health needs, insurance coverage, and whether or not they require medication.

Although therapy and medications for depression can be expensive, there are low cost and free options available for people who cannot otherwise access care.

For more information and resources, please visit our dedicated mental health hub.

If you are depressed: a therapist's step-by-step guide

Many people who suffer from depression do not understand what is really happening to them. Even if they understand, they do not know how to cope with this disease. The first thing to do is figure out if you really have depression. Our article on the main symptoms of depression will help with this.

If you have found at least two of the five symptoms, then you should go to the next step. Namely, take the advice of Jennifer Rollin, a psychotherapist and specialist in working with anxiety and depressive disorders. nine0003

1. Get Help

Depression is a serious mental disorder. Fortunately, it responds well to treatment. If you notice symptoms of depression, it is important to seek professional help from a psychotherapist or psychiatrist.

Asking for help, you show not weakness, but, on the contrary, real strength. If depression is telling you that you are unworthy of help, please don't listen to it! Depression, like a cruel spouse, does not want to let you go. Remember that everyone suffering from this disorder deserves help and support. You do not have to remain in a state of hopelessness and loneliness. nine0003

2. Become aware of what your mind is trying to tell you

Every day, thousands of thoughts come into our heads. Not all of them are true. If you are suffering from depression, it is very likely that your thoughts will become more and more pessimistic.

First of all, you need to realize what exactly you inspire yourself. Having identified negative thoughts, find that healthy part of your own "I" that can resist them. Use it to try to inspire yourself with ideas that will help you in the fight against depression. nine0003

3. Do the opposite

There is a concept in dialectical behavior therapy that I really like. It's called reverse action. People suffering from depression often have a desire not to communicate with anyone, not to get out of bed and to avoid certain situations. In this case, you need to force yourself to "act in reverse":

  • If you want to avoid any communication, call friends or relatives and arrange a meeting.
  • If you just want to lie in bed and not get up, think about what kind of active activity you could do. nine0024

It is important to force ourselves to communicate with people and go out of the house - this is how we are most likely to cheer ourselves up.

4. Show compassion for yourself

Berating yourself for being depressed only makes it worse. Always remember that depression is not your fault. This is a mental disorder, you did not choose it for yourself. No one voluntarily agrees to isolation from friends and loved ones, to a feeling of emptiness and hopelessness, to weakness and apathy, because of which it is difficult to get out of bed or leave the house. nine0003

This is why you need to be kind to yourself and remember that you are not the only person suffering from depression. Think about ways you can take care of yourself. Treat yourself with empathy, just as you would treat a close friend who is in a difficult situation.

It may be hard to believe now that the voice of depression is so loud, but I want you to know that you will get better. Please ask for help. No one deserves to suffer from depression alone. nine0003

With the right treatment and support, you will not only be able to fight depression, but will be able to live a full, happy life. After all, you are much stronger than you think.

Depressed partner support


Depression is one of the most common mental disorders, affecting more than 350 million people of all age groups.

nine0002 Every year about 150 million people in the world lose their ability to work due to depression

The support of family and friends is essential in the treatment of mental disorders. However, depression can negatively impact relationships and leave loved ones feeling helpless, frustrated, or afraid.

There are ways people can support a partner with depression on their journey to recovery.

Questions to ask about symptoms

To understand the severity of a person's depression, it is helpful to study how these symptoms affect their life.

Asking about symptoms also shows a person that his partner is interested in his feelings and experiences.

Useful questions to ask include:

  • Can you help me understand how you feel?
  • What activities do you find enjoyable right now? nine0024
  • Do you enjoy spending time with other people?
  • What's wrong with your energy?
  • Are you sleeping more or less than usual?
  • Do you eat more or less than usual?
  • Can you focus on things right now?
  • Do you have thoughts of death or suicide?

Questions to avoid

Avoid asking questions that seem judgmental or that place blame on the person with depression. They may already be blaming themselves for their symptoms and need support rather than further judgment. nine0003

It is also important not to oversimplify depression, which is a serious illness.

Examples of questions to avoid include:

  • Why can't you just cheer up?
  • Don't I make you happy?
  • When will you feel better?
  • Don't you understand that it's all in your head?
  • Why do you attach so much importance to this? nine0024
  • Do you know that others are in a much worse situation than you?

Partner support

1. Learn about depression

Learning about depression can make it easier to support those with depression. Learning about symptoms often helps people recognize symptoms in their loved ones.

Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may change over time. However, symptoms must last at least 2 weeks before a doctor can diagnose depression. nine0003

Symptoms of depression may include:

  • feelings of sadness, worthlessness or guilt
  • loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
  • changes in appetite or weight
  • changes in sleep habits
  • fatigue and loss of energy
  • difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • thoughts of death or suicide

2. Understand and acknowledge your partner's feelings

It is important to listen to a person with depression and express empathy, which is the ability to understand and share other people's feelings. One way to show empathy is to mirror what the person is saying.

For example, if he says, "I just feel like things will never get better," their partner might reflect this by saying, "that sounds like you're not looking forward to the future."

Constant attempts to cheer up a person are useless, as this devalues ​​his condition and feelings. Phrases like “tomorrow will be better” or “try to cheer up” do not take into account the nature of the disease. nine0003

3. Ask your partner what they need from you

To show further understanding and support, ask the person what they need. He may need:

  • medication reminders
  • company when visiting a doctor or visiting therapy
  • homemade meals
  • encouragement to socialize or exercise
  • hug or hold hands
  • to be left alone sometimes

Useful questions to ask include:

  • How can I help you?
  • Would it be helpful if I...?

4. Encourage your partner to heal

Depression can cause a person to lose their motivation, which can be a barrier to seeking treatment. However, most people with depression need treatment to get better. nine0003

Those who support someone with depression can play an important role in their recovery by encouraging them to seek medical help.

To inspire a partner to seek treatment, a person can try:

  • joint detection and documentation of your partner's symptoms
  • expression of desire to help
  • discussion of treatment options such as medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes
  • accompaniment to doctor appointments

5. Support your partner during recovery

Recovery from depression can sometimes be difficult. To support a partner in the recovery process:

  • help them keep track of their prescriptions and medications
  • do some physical exercise together
  • plan and prepare healthy meals together
  • nine0023 try to reduce stressors at home
  • make your goals small and achievable
  • encourage them to associate with other people
  • plan fun activities together
  • pay attention to the person's progress towards recovery
  • avoid forcing treatment on the person

Let your partner know they are not alone when you say:

  • I'm here for you. nine0024
  • We'll deal with this together.

6. Accept that there will be bad days

People with depression have good days and bad days. To cope with bad days:

  • expect them to happen
  • understand that this is a normal part of depression
  • do not give up love and support at this time
  • take some time and do something nice, either alone or with others
  • remember that not every day will be like this - there will be good days

7. Take care of yourself

When a person supports a partner with depression, it is very important to take the time to enjoy hobbies and other activities for yourself.

Caring for a partner with depression can be draining, frustrating, and intimidating.

Research shows that having a spouse with depression increases a person's risk of developing depressive symptoms. This risk is especially high when a man is supportive of a depressed woman. nine0003

Those caring for someone with a mental illness should also take care of their own mental health. They can do it:

  • trying to stay positive
  • having realistic expectations about the recovery process
  • knowing that they also have the right to be heard and respected
  • taking time out and doing pleasurable activities and hobbies
  • interacting with people other than their partner
  • seeking help from friends or relatives
  • doing regular exercise
  • eating healthy
  • trying to get more sleep and rest
  • visiting a psychologist or psychological support groups

Professional support

Professional treatment is an important part of the recovery process. The first step is often to see a doctor, who can recommend treatment, psychotherapy, or both. nine0003

For particularly severe depressive symptoms or in life-threatening situations, seek emergency care.

Beginning of form

People with depression may be at risk of suicide. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, more than half of those who die by suicide suffer from major depression.

Partners of those who suffer from depression should be aware of the warning signs of suicide so that they can take prompt action if necessary. Warning signs include:

  • talking about death or suicide
  • having a suicide plan
  • preparation of means of suicide, e.g. collection of pills
  • preparation for death, e.g. by making a will
  • distribution of things
  • farewell to family and friends
  • engaging in risky or reckless behavior
  • Extreme changes in mood or personality
  • nine0023 withdrawal from society

If a person suspects that someone is in imminent risk of suicide, they should seek emergency help.

If someone believes that a loved one is contemplating suicide but is not in immediate danger, they should contact the person's doctor and seek support from other family members or a support group.

Learn more