Calling Behavioral Health Services About Depression

Behavioral Health Services provides counseling services, and its medical staff can help decide if antidepressant medicine is appropriate.

Kaiser Permanente members can call Behavioral Health Services for an appointment.

Seeing Your Doctor First

You do not need a referral from a doctor to contact Behavioral Health Services. However, it's a good idea to see your doctor first. He or she is familiar with your medical history and can rule out other medical conditions that could be causing your symptoms.

If you do have depression, your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant medicine or refer you for counseling, if that's the best treatment for you. Or you may receive both antidepressants and counseling.

Your doctor will refer you to Behavioral Health Services if he or she feels that a specialist is needed for your medicine.

What to Expect When You Call

When you call Behavioral Health Services, a patient access representative or trained clinician will ask you a few questions over the phone about how you've been feeling physically and emotionally. Many of these questions are asked even if your doctor referred you.

These questions help determine the level of your depression, including whether you have been feeling at risk of harming yourself. Also, the questions help in matching you with a counselor or other specialist with whom you'll feel comfortable.

The other specialists in Behavioral Health Services include nurse practitioners and psychiatrists who can assess your medical condition and whether you should think about taking an antidepressant medicine.

Clinical review by Greg Simon, MD
Kaiser Permanente
Reviewed 03/01/2014