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Depression is more than just feeling sad sometimes or having a bad day. It is a group of symptoms that linger for weeks or longer that interfere with your ability to manage your day-to-day activities. Depression can happen to anyone at any age. About 16 million American adults experience depression each year.
Some of the signs of depression include:
A depression screening, also called a depression test, helps find out if you have depression. Your primary care provider may give you a depression test if you are showing signs of depression.
Along with a physical exam, you may be asked about your mood, feelings and sleep habits and if you have any other signs of depression. You may have a physical exam to rule out health issues that may be causing depression, like anemia or thyroid disease.
Also keep in mind that depression is often missed in people who have other health problems. Be sure to talk to your doctor about it if you think you have symptoms.
The good news is depression can be treated. If you think you may be depressed, the first step is to talk to your doctor. Be sure to:
The most common ways to treat depression are with counseling, medicine or both. Your doctor may suggest you see a mental health professional who can help you find the treatment that works best for you.
Although most people with depression can get better with the right treatment, only about 35 percent of people with severe depression get help from a mental health professional, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
You can learn more about depression treatment from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Therapy or counseling with a licensed mental health professional can help people find ways to better cope with issues impacting their mental health. And just like with a physical illness, someone with a mental health issue may also need to take medicine to get better.
Therapy and medicine together, when recommended by your doctor, has been shown in some cases to be an effective way to manage the symptoms of some mental health disorders.
When medicine is part of a treatment plan, medicine compliance is very important. Medicine compliance is an agreement to take the prescribed dose, at the right time for the recommended length of time. It can be a shared decision between the person, their mental health provider and often a family member involved in their care.
Keeping to a medication plan can be hard to do. It is not unusual for some people to not take their medicine as directed. And some don’t take it at all. But failing to stick to the plan can hurt their quality of life or cause complications or a relapse. It can even lead to a hospital stay.
If you have a hard time taking your medicine, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They may have tips for keeping up with medication plans. Setting reminders on your phone or using pillboxes to help organize your medicine may help.
If you’re having thoughts of harming yourself or suicide, please get help right away. You can call or text 988 or visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline site at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. If you’re struggling, call your primary care doctor. Don’t put it off. If you have depression, it's important to get treatment. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you may start to feel better.
Originally published 9/2/2021; Revised 2022, 2023
DO NOT BELIEVE BCBSIL!!! They do not care about you or your mental health. i have been trying for almost 2 months to get help finding resources and a psychiatrist. I have a case worker in the mental wellness department, SHE DOES NOT CARE WHETHER I LIVE OR Die!!!! I have had to advocate for myself at a time when simply getting out of bed seems like an impossible task. I have made phone calls, left messages, sent emails, had a case worker from another department reach out to my case worker, etc. I have every bit of it documented, but nobody cares. I still don’t have a doctor, I have had my oldest son quit his job and move from Florida to help me. I had no choice. It wasn’t selfish, it was necessary because BCBSIL refuses to see the error in their ways. i have gotten NO HELP FROM BCBSIL, EVEN THOUGH I DO NOT HAVE THE MENTAL STRENGTH TO KEEP TRYING!!!! MENTAL HEALTH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING BECAUSE IF YOUR MENTAL STATE IS NOT GOOD, YOU CANNOT FACE ANYTHING THAT COMES YOUR WAY.
if I do end up taking my life, it will be because I did everything I could to advocate for myself, to reach out for help, to be completely transparent and honest about how hopeless and helpless I feel after having left an outpatient program at a mental health hospital without ANY follow up care, and because I asked BCBSIL for help, dodging all of the road blocks they put in my way, and BCBSIl did nothing except make me feel even more invisible and more worthless than I did before. REACHING OUT FOR HELP IS INCREDIBLY HARD, AND PICKING UP THE PHONE TO ASK FOR HELP TAKES COURAGE AND ENERGY. JUST TO THEN BE DISMISSED BY SOME RANDOM CASE WORKER WHO WORKS FROM HOME (judging by the noise in the background), WHO TAKES WEEKS TO GET BACK TO ME WHEN SHE PROMISES TO CALL BACK THAT DAY, WHO DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THE RAMIFICATIONS OF HER LACK OF ACTION, IS BCBSIL’s WAY OF SHOWING ME THAT MY MENTAL WELL-BEING MEANS NOTHING TO THEM!!!!!!!!!!
I have called, complained, pleaded, begged, and cried when calling my case worker at BCBSIL. Nothing! Incorrect information, lack of resources, lack of compassion, lack of understanding the urgency behind an email, a message, or a phone call - that’s what I’ve received from my mental health care worker. DO NOT TRUST BCBSIL!!!! I fell for their mental health assistance, and I am now worse off for doing so. I won’t call another doctor, I won’t get help, I won’t get someone to adjust my meds, I won’t get respect or a timely response from BCBSIL. I have fallen through the cracks, although the cracks in their department are more like gigantic, ignored holes rather than cracks. I am at the end of my rope and I don’t expect to get any help before it’s all over. Later they will ask why I didn’t reach out for help, and I hope my death certificate reads ‘Neglect at the hands of BCBSIL, Mental Health Division’!. Maybe it will help someone like me get some kind of help before it’s too late for them!!!!
Hi David, If you'd like to send us a private message we can see how we can help. ~ KW
My name is David dale and I am seeking help for depression
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