Explain why the person needs to see a health professional
Explain that very few people get over
depression on their own. Most people need some type of treatment. The sooner
someone gets treatment, the sooner he or she will feel better.
Point out that there are many types of professionals who treat
depression and many types of treatment. Just because a person is depressed
doesn't mean that he or she needs to see a psychologist or take medicine. A
family doctor or a counselor may be able to help.
Point out that depression might be caused by another problem. For
example, many people have an
underactive thyroid, which can cause symptoms of
depression. A doctor can diagnose this and give the person thyroid medicine.
This will stop the depression. A doctor also can tell if a
medicine, such as one used for high blood pressure,
might be causing depression.
Watch for the warning signs of suicide
Watch for the
warning signs of suicide, such as talking a lot about
death or giving things away and writing a will. If you notice them, call the
Call 911 or emergency
help if you think:
The person is going to harm himself or herself or others. For
example, the person has a written plan or a weapon or is saving (stockpiling)
The person is hearing or seeing things that aren't real.
The person seems to be thinking or speaking in a bizarre way that
is not like his or her usual behavior.
Help the person overcome fears about treatment
Many people have reasons why they don't want to
see a doctor. Talk about these barriers, and help the person find
"See a shrink? I'm not crazy."
"People will think I'm weak."
"What will my family and friends think?"
You are looking for help so you will feel
better. It takes strength and courage to seek help from others.
You may not need to see a
psychologist. Your family doctor or a counselor may be
able to help you.
Mental health problems are real and can affect your physical
health. They are
not character flaws. They are often caused by chemicals in the brain or by heredity.
You can get better with the right kind of
treatment. Treatment includes medicine, counseling, self-care, or a combination
of these. The kind of treatment you have will depend on how severe your
"It might hurt my career."
You may think that it will hurt your
career if people at your workplace know that you are depressed. But depression
may make it hard for you to perform your job well. Treatment can help you
"I've had counseling before and didn't like it."
Learn about treatment for depression, and
find someone you feel comfortable with. If you don't connect with one doctor or
counselor, try another one.
"Aren't medicines for depression addictive?"
"These medicines make you crazy or uninterested in sex."
Medicines for depression are not
Medicines for depression have side effects, and some
affect sexual desire. If you're worried about side effects, your doctor can
find medicines with fewer or different side effects or can change your dose.
"Someone might get into my medical records and see this."
Doctors, counselors, hospitals, and
clinics take privacy seriously. They won't share your records with anyone who's
not involved in your treatment. If you have questions about your privacy, ask
the doctor about it when you call for an appointment.
"It's hard to schedule and find time for an appointment."
"I can't get there."
Look at your schedule, and find when it
would be easiest for you to see a doctor. Ask for this time when you call.
When you call for an appointment, explain your situation. Most
doctors will try to find a time that works for both of you.
friend to help you get there, or check local bus schedules.
"I've tried to talk to people. They just don't get it and don't care."
It may be hard for some people to
understand depression. But other people who have been through depression can
understand. Consider finding a support group of people with similar
"I can't afford it."
Many towns and cities have resources that
may be able to help you. Call your local social services department or welfare
office to find out.
If you have insurance, check your policy.
Mental health benefits often are covered through a separate
Ask your doctor for help. He or she may be able to find
free or low-cost medicine or counseling.
Check Medicaid if you
have a low income. Check Medicare if you are 65 or older. These programs may
be able to help you.
Some universities, hospitals, and other
institutions may have training programs and may offer reduced fees.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerLisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.