Depression: Helping Someone Get Treatment

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Are you concerned that someone you know may have depression? Depression is a mental health condition that makes a person feel sad, lose interest in things they used to enjoy, and withdraw from others. It's more than normal sadness, grief, or low energy.

Most people with depression need some type of treatment. Counseling and medicine usually work well to treat depression. Sometimes counseling alone is enough. Often a combination of the two works best. Treatment can help the person enjoy life again.

How can you help?

If you're worried that someone you know may have depression, here are some things you can do to help them get treatment.

  • Express your concern.

    Point out the symptoms of depression that you have noticed, and say why these symptoms worry you. Use a supportive and caring tone of voice.

  • Explain that depression is real and that very few people get over depression on their own.

    Stress that depression is not laziness or something in a person's head. It's a common disease and is nothing to be embarrassed about.

    Most people need some type of treatment. The sooner a person gets treatment, the sooner they will feel better.

  • Point out that depression might be caused by another problem.

    For example, many people have an underactive thyroid, which can cause symptoms of depression. A doctor can diagnose this and give the person thyroid medicine. This will stop the depression. A doctor also can tell if a medicine, such as one used for high blood pressure, might be causing depression.

  • Point out that there is a lot of help available.

    Tell the person that there are many types of professionals who treat depression and many types of treatment. Just because someone is depressed doesn't mean that they need to see a psychologist or take medicine. A family doctor or a counselor may be able to help.

    Where to get help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

    If you or someone you know talks about suicide, self-harm, a mental health crisis, a substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress, get help right away. You can:

    • Call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.
    • Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
    • Text HOME to 741741 to access the Crisis Text Line.

    Consider saving these numbers in your phone.

    Go to for more information or to chat online.


Current as of: June 24, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.