Getting appropriate care while dealing with depression can be daunting at first, but it is often the first step toward recovery. Finding the right provider and the appropriate level of treatment, though, can be difficult, because of financial constraints, concerns about the provider’s ability to care for your specific needs, and many other factors.
Below you’ll find information for finding a mental health provider who can more effectively meet your needs. You’ll also find important information about different levels of care, along with types of treatment available.
While you are ultimately the judge of when it makes sense to seek care for depression, there are two questions to ask yourself:
If you’re still unsure about what to do, this depression screening from Mental Health America might help to clarify things.
While it is easy to ignore your feelings, distract yourself from depression, or convince yourself that what you’re feeling isn’t “that bad,” prolonging your struggle often makes things worse. Getting help is a sign of strength. Professional support can help you to feel better, and the resources on this page can help with accessing the right support for you. Want more info? Check out our article on seeking help when depressed.
Psychiatrists: Medical doctors (MD/DO) who can prescribe medication to their patients. Some also offer psychotherapy.
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners: can also diagnose mental illnesses and prescribe medication. Depending on the state, some may practice independently, others may need to practice under the oversight of a medical doctor.
Psychologists have doctoral degrees (PhD or PsyD) and have significant training in understanding how the mind and behavior correspond.
PhD: doctoral degree that tends to have a significant research focus in addition to clinical skills training. The goal of having a PhD in Psychology is to advance the knowledge of mental health issues and methods to treat them.
PsyD: a doctoral degree that is typically more clinically-oriented. People with PsyDs work with people who seek therapy or in more intensive settings. The focus of a PsyD is to apply scientific knowledge directly to psychology practice.
An LPC/LMHC has a Master’s in Counseling and a significant amount of training, along with a state certification. They can offer counseling to clients, such as ways to create a better relationship with mental health or strategies to cope with emotions.
Licensed Clinical Social Workers have a Master’s degree in social work and have had thousands of supervised clinical hours. Clinical social workers work in a variety of settings, from community-related fields to private practices. Like other Master’s-level clinicians, they can provide therapy, and their social work background may help them to develop a more holistic stance when it comes to treatment.
Don’t have insurance/have difficulty affording treatment? Try the following options:
Receiving treatment from a therapist and/or medications from a psychiatric medication provider is typically the first-line of treatment when someone is diagnosed with mild-moderate depression. Find resources on this page to connect with a mental health care provider.
Intensive Outpatient Programs provide more treatment than typical once-twice/week therapy, but are for people who do not require a higher level of care, such as a partial hospitalization or inpatient. They may also be for people stepping down from a higher level of treatment.
Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) are structured to provide intensive psychiatric care that resembles that of a highly structured, short-term hospital inpatient program. PHPs involve active treatment that incorporates an individualized treatment plan involving coordination of services surrounding the particular needs of the patient. PHPs may be appropriate for people in-need of higher level of care but who are safe enough to go home, or for individuals who are stepping down from inpatient treatment.
Residential treatment offers high-quality, wraparound mental health care within a structured, homelike environment that can contribute to healing and a sense of community. As a longer-term option, people may be in residential treatment for a variable amount of time – some programs last for only a few weeks, while others can last for many months.
If you’re able, speak with your care team about their recommendations regarding going inpatient.
If you are experiencing the following symptoms, you should consider hospitalization:
1.If you need immediate help (i.e. are in imminent danger of hurting yourself)
2. If you are not in imminent danger, consider contacting:
It may be difficult to gather all the necessary clothing/toiletries etc. prior to going to the hospital for an inpatient admission. The following list is meant to assist supporters in helping you with getting everything you need after being admitted. If you do have time prior to admission, you may also use this list as a general packing list, though you may want to check with your particular inpatient institution first.
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– Voluntary Hospitalization is when a person willingly signs forms to be treated in the hospital. A person who is admitted voluntarily may also ask to leave at their discretion. Rules about how quickly the hospital must release you vary from state to state.
– Involuntary Hospitalization occurs when symptoms have become so severe that the person is incapacitated or might be a danger to themselves or others. Rules about involuntary hospitalization vary from state to state. In most cases, you cannot be held longer than a few days without a court hearing.