Depression: Where to start
Clinical depression is a very common condition. In fact, “approximately one in five Americans experience an episode in their lifetime. However, despite its prevalence, only about 50 percent of people who suffer from depression actually receive treatment.”4
People often go without treatment because it can be difficult to know where to start seeking help. There are a variety of places to begin when you suspect that you or your loved one may be struggling with clinical depression.
- Primary Care Physician (PCP) — “While primary care providers are not trained mental health specialists, they are frequently on the front lines of initially diagnosing, treating, and managing mental health conditions…. Patients often share symptoms or express concerns to their PCP before ever thinking of going to see a psychologist or psychiatrist,”1 says Claudia*, a nurse who works in an adult primary care office.
- Google — The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), partnered with Google on bringing awareness of depression to the front lines. “Now when you search for "clinical depression" on the mobile version of Google, you'll see a Knowledge Panel that will give you the option to tap “Check if You’re Clinically Depressed,” which will bring you to PHQ-9, a clinically validated screening questionnaire to test what your likely level of depression may be.”3 These results can be saved and discussed with a PCP or Mental Health Professional.
- Other types of Mental Health Professionals —
- Psychologists — “trained to evaluate a person’s mental health using clinical interviews, psychological evaluations and testing. They can make a diagnosis and provide individual or group therapy.”2
- Therapist — “trained to evaluate a person’s mental health and use therapeutic techniques based on specific training programs.”2
- Clinical Social workers — “trained to evaluate a person’s mental health and use therapeutic techniques based on specific training programs. They are also trained in case management and advocacy services.”2
- Psychiatrists — “can diagnose mental health conditions, prescribe and monitor medications, and provide therapy.”2
These are not the only places to reach out for help, but they are the resources and professionals most commonly seeing patients on the front lines. When reaching out for help concerning clinical depression, or any mental illness, it is important to know that you are not alone in the process. Many Americans experience mental illnesses. Don’t be afraid to reach out for that helping hand.