Resources for people with depression

Contents

The Right Resources Can Help You Manage Depression

iStock

If you’re experiencing depression, it’s important to know that you’re not alone and that your condition is treatable. Here’s a list of depression organizations, articles, and websites for more information and support.

Organizations That Educate and Offer Help

National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-NAMI (1-800-950-6264). NAMI is the largest grassroots organization devoted to improving the lives of those affected by mental illness. Through various programs, it aims to change public perception about mental illness, help its members manage mental illness and build up family relationships.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001. The ADAA works to improve the quality of life of those affected by anxiety and depression related disorders. The programs of the nonprofit provides education, resources, and support for people to find treatment.

National Institute of Mental Health 1-866-615-6464. The NIMH is the largest research organization in the world committed to understanding the treatment and prevention of mental disorders. It funds research “to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Mental Health 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636). The mental health arm of the CDC is a good source of public health information on mental health.

American Psychological Association 1-800-374-2721. The APA is a professional organization of psychologists. Its site explains how psychologists work with you to alleviate symptoms and offers information on how to manage health and well-being while coping with depression and anxiety.

American Psychiatric Association 1-703-907-7300. The APA is a medical society whose members work to ensure that persons with mental illness, including substance use disorders, receive humane care and effective treatment. Educational material is available on their site, as well as help finding a psychiatrist.

Financial Help Managing the Cost of Therapy and Medication

Partnership for Prescription Assistance This organization will help you find therapy and prescription help free of charge.

NeedyMeds 1-800-503-6897. NeedyMeds is a national nonprofit that provides information on healthcare programs, offers direct assistance, and facilitates programs. It is dedicated to helping people locate assistance programs so they can afford their medications and other healthcare costs.

Together Rx Access 1-800-444-4106. With Together Rx Access, individuals and families without prescription drug coverage can get access to immediate savings on hundreds of brand-name and generic prescription products at their neighborhood pharmacies.

Social Security Administration You can find out if you qualify for benefits and what medication and therapy services are covered by Medicare here.

CareForYourMind This site offers advice on what to do if you can’t afford therapy. It provides information on care coordination, access to treatment, veterans, workplace issues, Medicare, and more.

Coping, Advocacy, and Support for People Suffering From Depression

Anxiety and Depression Association of America This site offers blogs by experts and patients, educational webinars and help finding a support group near you, or information on how to start one if none are available.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). This organization offers support and educational material for those who have or are contemplating suicide, or love someone who has.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance 1-800-826-3632.

Erika’s Lighthouse 847-386-6481. This site builds awareness around teenage depression.

Families for Depression Awareness 1-781-890-0220.

HelpGuide

MoodNetwork 1-617-643-2076.

To Write Love on Her Arms 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

Find Facts and Statistics About Depression

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Depression in the U.S. Household Population 2009–2012.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Depression Among Women

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

National Institute of Mental Health

Medications and Therapies Used to Treat Depression

Cymbalta (duloxetine)

Viibryd (vilazodone hydrochloride)

Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)

Celexa (citalopram)

Zoloft (sertraline)

Prozac (fluoxetine)

Desyrel (trazodone)

Paxil (paroxetine)

Wellbutrin (bupropion)

Effexor XR (venlafaxine)

Lexapro (escitalopram)

Brintellix (vortioxetine)

Fetzima (levomilnacipran)

How to Create a Depression Treatment Plan

Psychotherapy 101: How to Find a Treatment That Works

Find Out More About Alternative Therapies for Depression

American Psychological Association

Cleveland Clinic

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health

Finding the Right Inpatient Depression Treatment

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

American Residential Treatment Association

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Read Patient Blogs Voicing the Real Experience of Coping With Depression

Lawyers With Depression Dan Lukasik is a lawyer from Buffalo, New York, who created Lawyers With Depression to help law students, judges, and lawyers who cope with depression.

Daisies and Bruises A website with links to other sites providing answers regarding depression in addition to inspirational quotations and tips.

Time to Change A blog where patients share their personal experiences with depression with the goal of increasing understanding of mental health and breaking stereotypes.

Postpartum Progress The world’s most widely read blog about maternal mental illness.

Depression Marathon A patient blog of a female runner and health professional who reveals her battle with severe and persistent depression, including how it changed her identity, personality, and life.

Finding Tests to Gauge if You’re Depressed

Psychology Today

Mental Health America

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Center for Epidemiologic Studies

UpToDate

Find Clinical Trials That Address Depression

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

National Institute of Mental Health

ClinicalTrials.gov

NHS Choices

Additional reporting by Pamela Kaufman, Nicol Natale, and Bernadette Young.

Helpful mental health resources

Get support now.

If you are having thoughts of suicide and need support right now, there are people who care about your life and will provide you with resources that can help.

  • If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, dial 9-1-1

  • Contact a doctor

  • Go to a hospital emergency room

  • Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to be connected with a trained counselor at a crisis center anytime. People are standing by, ready to help without judgement

  • Text HOME to 741-741 to connect with a crisis counselor at the Crisis Text Line from anywhere in the U.S. It’s free, 24/7, and confidential

  • If you’re outside the United States, please visit iasp.info

National organizations and websites

The following websites offer more information on depression and other mental health topics:

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)

A nonprofit organization that is dedicated to facilitating psychiatric care for children and adolescents. AACAP promotes the healthy development of children, adolescents, and families through advocacy, education, and research.

Depression Resource Center

Contains consumer-friendly definitions, answers to frequently asked questions, clinical resources, and expert videos about childhood depression.

Facts for Families

Provides concise and up-to-date information on issues that affect children, teenagers, and their families.

American Foundation For Suicide Prevention (AFSP)

A voluntary health organization that is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)

A nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety, depressive, obsessive-compulsive, and trauma-related disorders through education, practice, and research.

#BeThe1to

A movement supported by The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and The National Suicide Preventon Lifeline, which includes 5 action steps, stories, resources, tips and messages about suicide prevention.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Mental health information and resources from the CDC.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)

Peer-based (patients talking to patients) services and resources related to depression and bipolar disorder.

Families for Depression Awareness

Education, training, and support to help families who are coping with mood disorders.

The Jed Foundation (JED)

A nonprofit organization that works to protect the emotional health of teens and young adults.

Managing Your Meds

A nonprofit organization that has tips to help you remember to take your medication as directed

Script Your Future

A campaign in the U.S. that is designed to help you remember to take your medication as directed.

Mental Health America (MHA)

A community-based nonprofit organization focused on addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the mental health of all Americans.

Mental Health First Aid

Training course that gives people the skills to help someone with a mental health problem or a mental health crisis.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

A grassroots mental health organization that provides free referral, information and support, runs education programs, and holds public awareness events and activities.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

The main U.S. federal agency for research on mental disorders.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

A phone line to call if you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis. The Lifeline is made up of a large network of crisis centers located across the U.S.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA)

An agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads efforts to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness in the U.S.

The Trevor Project

The leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people.

Selected books and resources by University of Michigan faculty and staff

Brain Fit

Online brain games, exercises, and tools to train your brain with a personalized plan to boost memory, mood, focus and energy.

Overcoming Bipolar Disorder: A Comprehensive Workbook for Managing Your Symptoms and Achieving Your Life Goals

A book that presents a research-proven method for helping people living with bipolar disorder gain control of their disorder.

Motherhood in the Face of Trauma: Pathways Towards Healing and Growth

A book that addresses the physical and emotional consequences of interpersonal violence on women entering motherhood.

BiAffect App

An app that researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, along with collaborators at the University of Michigan, designed to help people with bipolar disorder see manic and depressive episodes coming, and take action to reduce the effects of those episodes. The app monitors and analyzes keyboard dynamics metadata, such as typing speed and rhythm, mistakes in texts, and the use of backspace and auto-correct to identify digital biomarkers of manic and depressive episodes in people with bipolar disorder.

Online Resources

Additional online informational websites*

  • Children and Adolescents
  • Teens and College Students
  • Women
  • Men
  • Military and Military Families
  • Mental Health – General
  • Medication
  • Mindfulness
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Specific Phobias
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Related Resources
  • International Organizations

Children and Adolescents

Child Mind Institute
Families for Depression Awareness
Families USA
Georgetown Center for Children and Families
National Child Traumatic Stress Network
The Balanced Mind Foundation
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
Selective Mutism Group
Selective Mutism Foundation
WorryWiseKids.org
Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program — for military families in New England

Teens and College Students

Active Minds
Alcohol Rehab Guide
Minding Your Mind
National Eating Disorders Association
Promoting Student Mental Health
Start Your Recovery
Student Mental Health: A Guide to Identifying Disorders and Promoting Wellness
The Jed Foundation

Women

Food and Drug Administration Office of Women’s Health provides these links:

  • Depression–Medicines to Help You. Use this information to help you talk to your doctor.
  • Women in Clinical Trials: Why should women participate in clinical trials? Medical products can affect men and women differently. Sometimes women have different side effects. It is important that women participate to show if products are safe and work well in both men and women. En Español
  • Pregnancy Registries: Many women need to take medicine while they are pregnant. Enrolling in a pregnancy exposure registry can help improve safety information for medicines used during pregnancy and can be used to update drug labeling. Learn more about how you can help.
  • Free publications on a variety of health topics in English, Spanish, and other languages.

Men

Man Therapy
HeadsUpGuys

Military and Military Families

Helping Children Cope During Deployment — Real Warriors Campaign, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE)
BraveHeart: Welcome Back Veterans Southeast Initiative — Emory University and the Atlanta Braves have teamed up to offer veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and their family members a variety of expert support resources. Mission: Help people in the Southeastern United States get help for PTSD.

Mental Health – General

Make It Ok
Community Conversations About Mental Health
Academy of Cognitive Therapy
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
American Psychiatric Association
American Psychological Association
Andrew Kukes Foundation for Social Anxiety
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
BrainFacts.org
Brain and Behavior Research Foundation
–Brain & Behavior Research Foundation – Anxiety Research
–Brain & Behavior Research Foundation – Depression Research
Research Match
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
International Bipolar Foundation
DualDiagnosis.org (depression and addiction)
Freedom From Fear
Helping Others Live Sober
MentalHealth.gov
Mental Health America
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC) focuses on the issues and needs of more than 1,200 free and charitable clinics and the people they serve in the United States; offers an application for discount pharmacy card.
National Institute of Mental Health
Care for Your Mind
NoStigmas.org: A voice for mental health equality, or when all people have the same rights, treatment, and access to care regardless of mental illness or condition.

Social Security Disability benefits: Learn how to apply if you have an anxiety disorder, depression, or other mental disorders.
Thero.orga collective of mental health care providers and consumers of mental health services
Treatment Advocacy Center: Eliminating barriers to the treatment of mental illness
World Federation for Mental Health

Medication

Drugalert.org is a comprehensive database with information and news alerts about potentially dangerous drugs currently on the market or previously available worldwide.
DrugNews.net provides the latest research, warnings, FDA recalls and legal news to those who use popular drugs or medical devices.
DrugWatch.com provides up-to-date information about prescription and over-the-counter medications, including details about associated side effects.
Patient Safety Alerts offers real-time email notifications about drug recalls and safety alerts.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness for Healthy Living (University of Southern California School of Social Work)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

International OCD Foundation
The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs)

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Addiction Center
Give an Hour — for veterans and their families
National Center for PTSD
Real Warriors (U.S. Department of Defense) — for veterans and their families

The Gift From Within
Sidran Institute

Specific Phobias

International Paruresis Association — shy bladder syndrome

Suicide Prevention

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
1-800-273-TALK (8255) National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Sources of Strength
The Carson J. Spencer Foundation
Working Minds

Related Resources

Addiction Resource
Employer Guide for Compliance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act(A concise guide to the parity law, its final regulations, and how it is affected by the Affordable Care Act)
National Eating Disorders Association
National Sleep Foundation
National Women’s Health Resource Center
Talking to Children About Terrorism and War
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Children and Grief

International Organizations

Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada
Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba
Anxiety UK
A Guide to UK-based Free Mental Health Helplines by Cassiobury Court.

Disclaimer Statement

ADAA has not investigated these sites nor does it have the facilities to evaluate their recommendations in regards to treating anxiety, depression or co-occurring disorders. This list is a compilation of websites who have requested that their links appear on ADAA’s website. ADAA doesn’t recommend or endorse the competence or expertise of the information on any of these sites. The listing of a website is not an endorsement, but merely a source listing of informational sites that ADAA’s website visitors might find helpful.

There’s a wealth of information about depression on the Internet. Here, WebMD doctors have selected the finest professional organizations that can help people gain a better understanding of living with depression and other mental health conditions.

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) is a professional medical organization for child and adolescent psychiatrists. Part of the Academy’s mission is to provide advocacy for the mental health needs of children, adolescents and their families. The AACAP website includes information and resources for patients and their parents, including a link to find a nearby psychiatrist for children and adolescents.

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association is an organization of psychiatrists who unite to guarantee compassionate care and effective treatment for all people with behavioral and mental disorders, substance abuse problems, and intellectual disability. Links from this website will provide you more information about common mental health problems, medication options, and prevention steps.

American Psychological Association

The American Psychological Association (APA) is the largest association of psychologists in the world. The APA’s site is filled with the latest information on topics ranging from addiction, ADHD, aging, and Alzheimer’s to bullying, eating disorders, sexual abuse, and suicide.

American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry

The American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry focuses on issues that happen during adolescence, such as mental illness, criminal behavior, and sexual abuse. On the website, you can access book reviews pertaining to adolescent psychiatry, articles written by professional ASAP members, and the Annals of Adolescent Psychiatry journal.

American Society for Clinical Psychopharmacology

The American Society for Clinical Psychopharmacology (ASCP) is a national organization of psychiatrists and other physicians, researchers, and nurse practitioners who are dedicated to knowledge and expertise in psychopharmacology. The website includes a link for finding a local expert psychopharmacologist across cities in the United States.

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, which awards National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) grants, supports research on depression and other mental health problems. The Foundations website has a wealth of information on depression, anxiety, OCD, and schizophrenia, with the latest research, feature articles, and information for the newly diagnosed.

There are a lot of questions asked here on My Depression Connection and I find that many of these questions are requests for resources. In an effort to make things easier for ourselves I have compiled a list of the resources and links we most commonly give to people on this site to help address their needs. Hopefully this article will be a resource in itself of essential information for how to get information and support for depression and related conditions.

So let’s begin

1. My Depression Connection: You didn’t think I would mention depression resources without mentioning our site did you? In all seriousness, I do hope that anyone who has participated on our site will pass the word along that we have a great community here for both information and support. Sharing your experience with others does help.

2. Anxiety Connection: There are many people who suffer not only from depression but also from anxiety. I am one of these people. According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America: “Nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.” I will be writing on Anxiety Connection starting this month and I hope you look for me there. So if you haven’t checked out this site before please come on over.

3. Bipolar Connect: There are those of us, who, in addition to experiencing depressive episodes will also experience what is known as mania. This mood disorder used to be called manic depression but now is known as Bipolar Disorder. And many people who have this mood disorder do not get diagnosed with it until they have been suffering with it for years and sometimes decades. John McManamy leads this site and I can tell you that I have the utmost respect and admiration for John as he has transformed his suffering into helping others. I visit the site periodically and it is a wonderfully supportive community. If you have Bipolar Disorder or have a loved one with this mood disorder, please do visit Bipolar Connect.

4. NAMI (The National Alliance on Mental Illness):

I probably give this link to more people on this site than any other aside from Health Central sites. If you want to find out about the latest legislation on mental illness, how to fight the stigma of mental illness or simply find a local support group in your area this is one of the best web sites to find information and support for mental illness whether you are a caregiver or suffer from mental illness yourself.

They also have an information hotline for you to call: The Information HelpLine is an information and referral service which can be reached by calling 1(800) 950-NAMI (6264), Monday through Friday, 10 am- 6 pm, Eastern time.

5. Mental Health America: This organization was formerly known as the National Mental Health Association. Mental Health America is the country’s leading nonprofit dedicated to helping ALL people live mentally healthier lives. David Shern, the President of this organization often writes for My Depression Connection to inform us of the latest legislative news on mental health or to discuss advocacy efforts. Mental Health America works in conjunction with other mental health organizations to promote greater awareness of mental illness through such campaigns as National Depression Screening Day. They also provide a comprehensive list of mental health resources which you can find here.

6. Hotline Numbers: There are times when you might need to talk to someone immediately because you are having thoughts about harming yourself or even of suicide. There are many people who suffer from depression who have felt this way. There is no shame in calling for help. I did and was grateful for the help I received. Here are two national hotlines for the states. If anyone has other numbers for England, Australia, Ireland and other countries please let me know so I can add the numbers to this post.

Here is also a list of other hotline numbers specific to the emergency or need.

National Suicide Hopeline
Phone: 800.784.2433
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Phone: 800.273.8255

7. How to Get Mental Health Services with No Insurance and No Money:

This is a link to an article I had written some months ago due to the overwhelming number of members who were seeking help for their depression but had no insurance or money. There are a lot of good resources within this article for either getting a therapist or for getting medication for depression. Please do read the comment section as members gave additional resources to check out there.

8. The National Institute of Mental Health (** NIMH): ** For the latest science, research, and information about mental health issues this is the place to search. One can also find the latest information on clinical trials. NIMH also offers a special page of resources for getting help.

You may reach NIMH by calling: 1-866-615-6464

  1. **The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine ** Have you ever wondered what supplements can help your mental health but you wanted a source which provided research? The information given on this government site can help. For example one can find research about St. John’s Wort and how it works.To reach the center to ask any questions you can call: 1-888-644-6226
  1. Wings of Madness: I have saved the best for last. Not sure if you all know this or not but our Deborah Gray is the creator of a famous depression support group and web site. Wings of Madness is one of the oldest depression sites on the internet. Deborah created the site in 1995 and is still there today to provide information and support to those suffering from clinical depression and their loved ones. Deborah has worked tirelessly all these years to give hope to those who need it the most. You can find Deborah’s latest writings right here on Health Central by going to her profile.

I hope this list is of value to those of you who are suffering from depression or are the loved one of someone who is depressed and find yourself in need of information, advocacy, and support. If you have any resources you would like to share please post these in the form of a comment. Remember no spam please! Thank you to all who participate on My Depression Connection and make this such a great community.

Depression support groups

Depression can make you feel isolated. It can be helpful to meet with other people who understand what it’s like. This is sometimes called peer support.

Self-help groups allow people with depression to provide, as well as receive, help.

How to find depression support groups

Visit the Mind website for information about support groups in your area.

If you’re a carer and affected by depression, ring the Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053 to find out how to meet other carers.

Or you can ask your GP or your local psychological therapies team about depression support groups in your area.

What happens at a support group?

Sitting and talking isn’t the only thing that happens at meetings. Lots of groups organise social events and arrange special activities to help boost your mood and improve your wellbeing.

Going to a group for the first time can be daunting, but you can be sure of a warm welcome. People will understand how hard it can be to take that first step.

Find out how connecting with other people helps mental wellbeing

Other types of depression support

Attending a group and talking to other people who have experienced depression isn’t for everyone.

There are other kinds of peer support that can help you cope with depression.

Online forums for depression

You can visit online forums where you can read about other people’s experiences or write about your own and respond to other postings. Visit the Sane website.

Big White Wall is an online service for people who have common, distressing mental health problems.

Through social networking, a community of people are supported by trained “wall guides” so they can manage their own mental health.

Online forums aren’t for everyone. Depression UK has a penfriend scheme for members.

This is especially useful for people who don’t have internet access or prefer letters and postcards to email.

Pursuing your interests

Being with other people who share your interests can also help you feel better.

You can use the internet or local newspapers to look up classes or activities in your area you might enjoy.

Volunteering

Lots of people experience feelings of hopelessness and low self-esteem when they’re depressed.

Helping other people by doing voluntary work is a good way of feeling useful and valued. There are all sorts of ways you can volunteer.

Time banks are an innovative way of volunteering your time and skills. You offer your skills in return for credits, which you can then use to “buy” someone else’s services.

For example, you could offer 3 hours of gardening and, in exchange, receive a 1-hour language lesson and a 2-hour beauty treatment from other members.

Visit the Timebanking UK website to find out what’s available in your area.

More help for depression

There are lots of treatment options for depression, including talking therapies, antidepressants and self-help of various kinds.

If you have been feeling down for more than 2 weeks, visit your GP to discuss your symptoms.

Check your mood with this mood self-assessment quiz.

Mental Health

Author: Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division

After years of working hard at your job each day, you’ve just been laid off. You feel sad, tired and emotionally drained. The last thing you feel like doing is getting out of bed in the morning. This sadness is a natural part of being human and feeling this way for a few days is normal. In fact, many people hear people say “I’m depressed” in their day-to-day life when they are talking about that low feeling that we can all have from time to time. But if these sad feelings last for more than a couple of weeks and you start noticing that it’s affecting your life in a big way, you may be suffering from an illness called depression.

What is it?

Depression, also known as clinical or major depression, is a mood disorder that will affect one in eight Canadians at some point in their lives. It changes the way people feel, leaving them with mental and physical symptoms for long periods of time. It can look quite different from person to person. Depression can be triggered by a life event such as the loss of a job, the end of a relationship or the loss of a loved one, or other life stresses like a major deadline, moving to a new city or having a baby. Sometimes it seems not to be triggered by anything at all. One of the most important things to remember about depression is that people who have it can’t just “snap out of it” or make it go away. It’s a real illness, and the leading cause of suicide.

Top

Who does it affect?

Depression can affect anybody; young or old, rich or poor, man or woman. While depression can affect anyone, at anytime, it does seem to strike most often when a person is going through changes. Changes can be negative life changes such as the loss of a loved one or a job, regular life changes such as starting university or a big move, or physical changes such as hormonal changes or the onset of an illness. Because depression can be linked to change, certain groups of people are at risk more often than others:

  • Youth: More than a quarter of a million Canadian youth—6.5% of people between 15 and 24—experience major depression each year. Depression can be hard to recognize in youth because parents and caregivers often mistake a teen’s mood swings and irritability for normal adolescence, rather than depression. Studies have shown that gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered youth have higher rates of major depression.

  • Older adults: Around 7% of seniors have some symptoms of depression. This can be brought on by the loss of a spouse, a shrinking circle of friends or the onset of an illness. It’s also much more common among seniors living in care homes or who have dementia. Depression in people 65 and over appears to be less common than in younger groups, but researchers aren’t sure if this is a real difference or an issue with the research questions. It’s likely that depression is at least somewhat under-recognized in seniors. Some symptoms like changes in sleep or activity levels may be mistaken as signs of aging instead of depression.

  • Women: Depression is diagnosed twice as much in women as it is in men. Some reasons for this difference include life-cycle changes, hormonal changes, higher rates of childhood abuse or relationship violence, and social pressures. Women are usually more comfortable seeking help for their problems than men which likely means that depression in men may be highly under-reported. Men generally feel emotionally numb or angry when they are depressed whereas women usually feel more emotional.

  • People with chronic illness: About one third of people with a prolonged physical illness like diabetes, heart disease or a mental illness other than depression, experience depression. This can be because a long term illness can lower your quality of life, leading to depression.

  • People with substance use problems: There is a direct link between depression and problem substance use. Many people who are experiencing depression turn to drugs or alcohol for comfort. Overuse of substances can actually add to depression in some people. This is because some substances like alcohol, heroin and prescription sleeping pills lower brain activity, making you feel more depressed. Even drugs that stimulate your brain like cocaine and speed can make you more depressed after other effects wear off. Other factors, like family history, trauma or other life circumstances may make a person vulnerable to both alcohol/drug problems and depression.

  • People from different cultures: Depending on your cultural background, you may have certain beliefs about depression that can affect the way you deal with it. For example, people from some cultures notice more of the physical symptoms of depression and only think of the emotional ones when a professional asks them. Attitudes from our cultures can also affect who we may ask for help. For example, in one BC study Chinese youth were twice as reluctant to talk to their parents about depression as their non-Chinese counter parts. Aboriginal people, on and off-reserve, may also have higher rates of depression, from 12–16% in a year, or about double the Canadian average.

Top

What can I do about it?

Depression is very treatable. In fact, with the right treatment, 80% of people with depression feel better or no longer experience symptoms at all. Some common treatments, used on their own or in combination are:

  • Counseling: There are two types of counseling that work best for people with depression.

  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT): A health professional who uses this approach can teach you skills to help change your view of the world around you. They do this by coaching you to break the negative patterns of depression including the thoughts and actions that can keep the depression going.

  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT): Often when you are depressed your relationships with other people suffer. A health professional who uses IPT can teach you skills to improve how you interact with other people.

  • Medication: There are many different types of effective medication for depression, and different kinds work in different ways. Talk to your doctor to find out if medication is right for you, and if so, how to take it properly.

  • Light therapy: This treatment has been proven effective for people with seasonal affective disorder. It involves sitting near a special kind of light for about half an hour a day. Light therapy should not be done without first consulting your doctor because there are side effects to this treatment. It is being researched for use in other kinds of depression as well.

  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): This is a safe and effective treatment for people with severe depression or who can’t take medications or who haven’t responded to other treatments. ECT is a treatment done in hospital that sends electrical currents through the brain.

  • Self-help: For mild depression, or when moderate or severe depression begins to improve with other treatments, there are some things you can do on your own to help keep you feeling better. Regular exercise, eating well, managing stress, spending time with friends and family, spirituality, and monitoring your use of alcohol and other drugs can help keep depression from getting worse or coming back. Talking to your doctor, asking questions, and feeling in charge of your own health are also very important. Always talk to your doctor about what you’re doing on your own.

Some people find that herbal remedies, such as St. John’s Wort, help with their depression symptoms. Remember that even herbal remedies can have side effects and may interfere with other medications. Dosages can also vary depending on the brand you use. Talk about the risks and benefits of herbal or other alternative treatments with your health care provider and make sure they know all the different treatments you’re trying.

Top

Where do I go from here?

The best first step is always to talk to your doctor. They can help you decide which, if any, of the above treatments would be best for you. They can also rule out any physical explanations for your symptoms. In addition to talking to your family doctor, check out the resources below for more depression information.

Other helpful resources available in English only are:

Mood Disorders Association of BC
Visit www.mdabc.net or call 604-873-0103 (in the Lower Mainland) or 1-855-282-7979 (in the rest of BC) for resources and information on mood disorders. You’ll also find more information on support groups around the province.

Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division
Visit www.cmha.bc.ca or call 1-800-555-8222 (toll-free in BC) or 604-688-3234 (in Greater Vancouver) for information and community resources on mental health or any mental illness. You can also learn more about two helpful programs:

  • Bounce Back is a free program for adults experiencing mild to moderate depression, stress, or worry, using self-help materials and telephone coaching: www.bouncebackbc.ca

  • Living Life to the Full is a fun and engaging mental health promotion course that helps people learn skills to deal with the stresses of everyday life: www.llttf.ca

BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information
Visit www.heretohelp.bc.ca for info sheets and personal stories about depression. You’ll also find more information, tips and self-tests to help you understand many different mental health problems.

Resources available in many languages:
*For the service below, if English is not your first language, say the name of your preferred language in English to be connected to an interpreter. More than 100 languages are available.

HealthLink BC
Call 811 or visit www.healthlinkbc.ca to access free, non-emergency health information for anyone in your family, including mental health information. Through 811, you can also speak to a registered nurse about symptoms you’re worried about, or talk with a pharmacist about medication questions.

Crisis lines aren’t only for people in crisis. You can call for information on local services or if you just need someone to talk to. If you are in distress, call 310-6789 (do not add 604, 778 or 250 before the number) 24 hours a day to connect to a BC crisis line, without a wait or busy signal. The crisis lines linked in through 310-6789 have received advanced training in mental health issues and services by members of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information.

About the author

The Canadian Mental Health Association promotes the mental health of all and supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing a mental illness through public education, community-based research, advocacy, and direct services. Visit www.cmha.bc.ca.

© 2013 | Back to top | PDF | More info sheets

Resources

Visit the websites below to find help in your area or to learn more about mental health

Connect to Community Resources

National Alliance on Mental IllnessExternal

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is a mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

National Suicide Prevention LifelineExternal
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Postpartum Support InternationalExternal

This organization seeks to increase awareness among public and professional communities about the emotional changes that women experience during pregnancy and postpartum.

Learn More about Mental Health

Moms’ Mental Health MattersExternal
This initiative is designed to educate consumers and health care providers about who is at risk for depression and anxiety during and after pregnancy, the signs of these problems, and how to get help.

Depression in WomenExternal
Learn about depression in women (including causes, symptoms, and treatment) from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Depression Fact SheetExternal
This fact sheet from the Office of Women’s Health discusses the types, signs, and treatment of depression.

Postpartum Depression Fact SheetExternal
This fact sheet from the American Psychological Association discusses the symptoms, associated factors, prevention, and treatment for postpartum depression.

Depression
Content provided by CDC’s Mental Health website includes basic public health information on mental health.

Video to Raise Awareness About Postpartum Depression
This video is part of the Mental Health Across the Lifespan Initiative created by the National Institute of Mental Health, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Resources for clinicians and public health professionals

ACOG Committee Opinion: Screening for Perinatal DepressionExternal
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommends Depression Screenings for Pregnant and Postpartum WomenExternal
Patient Safety Bundle—Maternal Mental Health: Depression and Anxiety from the Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health CareExternal
AAP Clinical Report—Incorporating Recognition and Management of Perinatal and Postpartum Depression Into Pediatric PracticeExternal

View your state’s prevalence of postpartum depression using PRAMStat, an online data platform from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System.

Find a Support Group

“Knowing that I wasn’t going through this alone . . . that was my first breakthrough.” –DBSA support group participant

Support is essential to recovery. One of the most helpful things one person can say to (or hear from) another is “I’ve been there.” Depression and bipolar disorder can be isolating illnesses, but DBSA has many ways to help connect you with others who have been there as well.

DBSA offers both in-person and online support groups to help you find support near you. Take the next step toward wellness for yourself or someone you love.

View Chapters by State

Select a state to find an in-person support group in your community.

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Colombia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
  • Non-US Locations

This directory is published for confidential use by DBSA constituents. No part of this directory may be stored or reproduced electronically or printed (with the exception of printing individual pages listing support groups in your area) without prior permission of DBSA. Information in this directory may not be used for solicitation purposes.

Can’t find a support group in your area? Consider starting a DBSA Chapter!

Start A DBSA Chapter

These structured meetings typically cover a number of topics, including:

  • Unique personal stories
  • Coping skills
  • Challenges
  • Treatment feedback
  • Success stories

How do Support Groups Help?

Support groups are helpful for anyone suffering from postpartum depression. Support groups offer communal encouragement, comfort and advice in a safe setting. Because support groups happen in an inclusive environment, they help those affected by PPD feel accepted, understood and validated in their struggles.

Benefits of Support Groups

There are several benefits of participating in support groups, including:

  1. Regular and Ongoing Treatment Options
    Because support groups take place on a semi-weekly, weekly or bi-weekly basis, they are beneficial in providing consistent and ongoing therapy for those affected. They also help provide stability and routine.
  2. Access Affordable Treatment
    Support groups are an affordable form of therapy. This makes them more accessible to those who are not able to pay for treatment otherwise.
  3. Build Social Connectivity
    Because people facing depression are likely to isolate themselves, support groups build social connectivity between members.
  4. Receive Emotional Validation
    Many people suffering from postpartum depression feel terrible guilt and shame about their symptoms. Support groups help break the stigma and offer validation for the feelings, thoughts and emotions being experienced. This helps those affected to further accept their condition and become more open to treatment and recovery possibilities.
  5. Participate in a Safe and Non-Judgmental Environment
    Suffering in silence with postpartum depression is common. Support groups help to protect members’ identities and provide non-judgemental advice that will never be shared with others, such as family members, friends or employers.
  6. Facilitated by Professional Health Care Providers
    All meetings are led and facilitated by professional health care providers. This ensures that accurate and helpful treatment advice and coping skills are offered by real experts.
  7. Develop Deeper Understanding of Your Condition
    Support groups also help to provide education about postpartum depression so members can better understand how and why the condition is affecting them.
  8. Learn Healthy Coping Skills
    Most importantly, support groups offer practical tools and skills that help members address and treat their symptoms themselves.

Types of Support Groups

Because postpartum depression can affect anyone, not just mothers, there are many types of support groups available to all.

Affected Mothers

Most commonly, postpartum depression support groups support new mothers as they are the primary group affected by PPD symptoms.

Affected Spouses

Support groups are also available for fathers and husbands affected by postpartum depression. While not as a common, it is important for husbands and fathers to be provided with support and resources to prevent them from suffering in silence.

Affected Families

Depression can affect entire families and social circles. Postpartum depression support groups are available for family members or friends of mothers battling postpartum depression. This can be valuable if loved ones are suffering from depression as well, or if they are seeking information on how to help and support the affected mother.

Affected Couples

An unfortunate but common outcome of postpartum depression is marital problems. Support groups are available specifically for couples facing postpartum depression. These groups provide helpful advice and encouragement to new parents. They’re beneficial if you are experiencing marital challenges, seeking better communication or looking for healthy ways to support each other.

Where to Find Support Groups

Traditionally, support groups are held in physical locations with individual chapters in local settings. Local support groups can be held by mental health clinics, women’s health clinics and family health clinics. They may also be offered by a variety of public, private and nonprofit organizations.

Specialized postpartum depression support groups may be offered to groups, including:

  • Spanish-speaking mothers
  • Unwed/unsupported mothers
  • Mothers facing addiction and substance abuse
  • Military families
  • Other specific circumstances

Postpartum depression support groups are available in most states. Check your state’s official website to find links to health organizations and information on depression support groups.

National organizations that offer professional postpartum depression support resources:

  • American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Women’s Health
  • Mental Health America

With today’s online environment, internet support groups are available in the form of chats, message boards and forums.

Online postpartum depression support groups include:

  • Postpartum Support International Online Meetings
  • Smart Patients Postpartum Community
  • What to Expect Postpartum Depression Discussion Forum

If there are no postpartum depression support groups in your area, look for general depression support groups. Postpartum depression is one type of depression. While the causes may be different, the symptoms and treatment options are similar.

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *