If you feel that you are struggling with depression, you don’t have to struggle alone. You can call The National Mental Health Hotline at 866-903-3787 to speak to a professional about depression and get help with mental health resources.
Are you struggling with depression? Is it hard to get out of bed in the morning, or does your life seem hollow or overwhelming? Depression is more than just feeling sad. It’s a complex mental illness that takes over your life and affects work, school, and family relationships. You may need professional treatment for clinical depression, or another diagnosed mental condition. Our helplines for depression can help you find free therapy for depression in your area.
Or, maybe you’ve gone through a significant life change. Someone you love passed away. You’re transitioning from home to college. You’ve lost your job or are divorcing your spouse. You don’t have anyone you feel comfortable talking to or there’s nowhere else to turn. Our depression helpline is your connection to a compassionate, confidential counselor. At Mental Health Hotline, we connect people like you, with depression or depressive symptoms, with an ear to listen and actionable resources to help.
If you’re in the United States, you can find help and hope. Our free, reputable depression crisis hotline centers are available 24 hours a day for people just like you.
- Crisis Text Line: Text and Online Chat
The Crisis Text Line is a volunteer based service that provides 24/7 free support, with an online chat at crisistextline.org as well as a textable number at 741741
- SAMHSA National Helpline
SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) provides a free 24-hour service in English and Spanish for any mental health or substance abuse related needs. Text: 435748, Call: 1-800-662-4357 or TTY 1-800-487-4889
- NAMI Helpline
The NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) provides a volunteer helpline answering questions and offering support for all Mental Illness topics. Text: 62640 or Call (800)950-6264
- Mental Health Hotline is a free, 24-hour service established to provide resources for those seeking help and connect them with appropriate and local care. (866) 903-3787
- Crisis Text Line: Text and Online Chat
What is a Depression Hotline?
You’ve made it this far, and you’re looking for someone to talk to – you want help. You’re in the right place! When you call hotlines for depression, you are connected with a trained professional who wants to help. Our counselors provide the personalized support you need, offering:
- Support when you’re in crisis
- Listening to you without judgment
- Help to find free depression resources in your town
- Evaluate different depression treatment providers in your town
- Helping you understand what your insurance plan covers for depression treatment
You matter, and there is hope and help here. Whatever your situation, and no matter the cause of your depression, a compassionate counselor at one of these depression hotlines is here to talk.
Depression is More Common than You Think – You’re not Alone
Depression is the leading cause of disability for people aged 15-44 in the U.S. Even if you don’t fall into that demographic, there are likely more people your age with depression than you realize.
The National Network of Depression Centers shares some eye-opening statistics about depression you may not realize:
- 80% of people getting depression treatment show improvement in their symptoms within 4-6 weeks
- 2/3 of people who have depression don’t seek treatment
- Only half of returning veterans who need mental health support receive the treatment they need
- Depression is in the top three workplace stressors, along with family crisis and general stress
Some people may not realize they have depression because they associate it with serious sadness. Knowing the common causes and symptoms of depression can help you identify your need for therapy and counseling.
What Causes Depression?
Depression is a complex mental illness often caused by changes in brain chemistry. In fact, if you’re depressed, you may not feel sad, exactly, but rather tired, unenthusiastic, or empty inside. Depression can develop as a trauma response, like losing a loved one, getting divorced, or other major life stressors. Or, it can be organic, simply misfiring in the brain. Roughly 10-15% of new mothers develop Postpartum Depression, depression after having a baby.
Regardless of the cause, the symptoms of depression are the same:
- Persistent anxiety, sadness, or feeling “empty.”
- Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy, like hobbies, exercise, or even having sex
- Trouble with memory or concentration
- Inability to make decisions
- Feeling restless or more irritable
- Changes in appetite, either not eating or overeating
- Problems sleeping, either insomnia or sleeping for more than 10 hours a day
Some people also start suicide ideation, thinking about harming themselves. If you have been considering suicide or feel people would be better off without you, please call one of our depression hotlines. Compassionate counselors are available 24 hours a day to talk in a confidential environment.
Information about Depression
Depression falls into three major categories:
- Persistent Depressive Disorder (dysthymia): PDD is a form of depression that lasts longer than two years. It’s usually less severe in nature than major depression, but it’s still problematic due to its persistence. It usually involves a “sad” mood, and symptoms inhibit a person’s daily life at home, school, or work.
- Major Depressive Disorder: Depression is considered major when its symptoms aren’t caused by a medical condition, like brain chemistry imbalance or another psychiatric condition, or by substance use disorder (addiction to drugs or alcohol). Depressive episodes for MDD can last a few weeks and then go away, only to reappear later in life.
- Postpartum Depression: PPD is depression associated with having a baby or the aftermath of pregnancy. Researchers suspect fluctuating hormones contribute to PPD. Anywhere from 30-70% of women with PPD may experience symptoms for up to a year afterward, and 4-5% of these women meet the criteria for MDD.
Depression Can Be Treated
There is treatment for depression, no matter which category, including,
- Individual therapy with a licensed mental health professional. Sessions can be weekly or more often, helping you develop healthy coping strategies
- Prescription medication
- Group counseling sessions which help you build a strong support network
How Can I Tell If I Am Depressed or If a Loved One Is Depressed?
To be clear, only a trained professional can make a formal diagnosis of depression. However, there are some ways to see if you or a loved one is actually depressed.
First, check out the formal diagnostic criteria for depression as noted by the Diagnostic & Statistics Manual. The criteria in the diagnosis lays out what symptoms must be met in order to receive the formal diagnosis of depression. It is also possible to have less severe forms of depression, like dysthymia, otherwise known as persistent depressive disorder. This is a less severe form of mental illness, but it is also long-lasting and can interfere with someone’s ability to function.
People who are depressed will often dramatically change their behavior and begin to do things that they had previously never done. If you are worried about a loved one suffering from depression, there are a few behaviors you should be on the lookout for. These include:
• Sudden social withdrawal and more time spent alone
• Obvious bouts of sadness or crying
• Conversations about the world being better without them or wanting to end their lives
• A sudden fixation on pain or death
• A desire to start giving away prized possessions
There are also professional screening exams that can help you determine if you are depressed. It is important to note that these screeners should not be confused with internet quizzes; they are formally created and researched based. Examples include the PHQ-9, a series of nine questions that can generate a score to show if you are at risk for depression or actively suffering from it. A positive result on this exam may not mean you are depressed, but there is strong evidence to indicate that this may be the case. If it is, you should speak with a medical doctor, psychiatrist or psychologist. A medical professional can get you the help you need.
How Can Depression Be Treated?
Depression can be traumatic and debilitating, but the good news is that it is highly treatable. Ample evidence exists that depression can be managed and controlled. For many people, it is a chronic condition that requires periodic medication or therapy. However, thankfully, it can be dealt with.
There are many ways that depression can be treated. The first is talk therapy. Professionally trained therapists, usually with some sort of advanced degree, can help a person address the source of depression in their lives. There are many different forms of therapy out there, so it is important that an individual finds the therapy, and therapist, that works best for them. Therapy can help a person change their ways of thinking and reacting to circumstances, leading them to re-frame events and be better prepared to deal with life.
Medication has also been found to help with depression. The past few decades have seen an explosion of growth in terms of available medications that can help someone cope with their depression. This medication can often, quite literally, be a lifesaver. There are many types of anti-depressants on the market today, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
Do You Need Help Right Now?
Did you come here looking for a depression hotline number? Are you worried about what your depression or depressive symptoms mean? Check out our resources here. Compassionate, professional counselors are available 24 hours a day to talk, text, or chat online.