What professional help should I seek if I feel depressed?

Roughly two-thirds of people being treated for depression are cared for by their primary care physician. Your primary care physician is probably the first person you will talk to if you are having concerns about depression or anxiety.

It can be difficult to find the time to talk about depression in your regular checkup. After all, you probably have a number of diabetes issues to discuss with your health care provider. However, it is important for you, the patient, to take the time to bring up any symptoms of depression or anxiety.

Your primary care physician may feel comfortable diagnosing you—and then treating you—for a mental health disorder such as depression. Your health care provider can prescribe antidepressants or other medications to treat depression. However, your health care provider may also refer you (or you can ask to be referred) to a mental health professional.

You may see a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse, licensed social worker, family therapist, or other mental health counselor. Your counselor may recommend psychotherapy, medications, or both. Seeing a mental health professional does not mean that there is something wrong with you as a person. It simply means that you may have a medical problem that affects your emotions.


Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, can help treat your depression or anxiety disorder. There are several types of therapy that address mental health issues, such as modifying your thoughts and changing your behaviors.


Many emotional problems are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, and antidepressants can help you get back on track. Lots of people find successful relief from depression from a combination of talk therapy and medication.

Brett Snodgrass
Oncology Nursing

You should first seek help from your primary care providers.  Through questionnaires and assessment of your current psychiatric health, your provider should be able clearly grasp the degree to which you are depressed.  An appropriate medication and/or referral to other services can be made at this time.  If you are depressed, as well as suicidal, the questions a provider would ask are : 1) Do you have a plan? and 2) Do you have the means?.  If you or the provider feel that you have potential to hurt yourself, then immediate referral to inpatient psychiatric facility is warranted.

I inform my patients, as well as their loved ones,  if their depression worsens and they feel suicidal, it is important that they either call "911", go to their nearest ER, or admit themselves immediately into inpatient treatment.

Depression is very common and there can be a stigma associated with antidepressants.  It is important that a patient know that treatment for depression may only last for a few months.  The sooner depression is diagnoses and treatment begins, many times, the less time it takes to effectively treat it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.