National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Text: MHA to 741741

From anywhere in the US

Seeking Professional Help

Recognizing When to Seek Help

Regardless, absolutely everyone has times when they feel depressed or low. It’s important to know and recognize when you’re feeling “low,” which are depressive symptoms, are at a point when it would be wise to seek out professional help. Experts say that good rules of thumb for consulting with a mental health professional as soon as possible are: If your depressed mood lasts for more than two weeks, is seriously interfering with your ability to function at work, with your family and/or social life, or is causing you to think about, contemplate or plan to injure yourself, including thoughts of suicide.

Online Mental Health Screening Tests

Multiple online mental health screening tools exist to give you some idea of whether treatment would be advisable for either you or a loved one. A good tool is linked here from Mental Health America. While these are just tools and definitely not a substitute for medical care and treatment, they can give you an idea of whether a particular situation, indeed, may call for treatment.

Seek Immediate Help

If you find yourself thinking seriously about suicide, please make an appointment with a mental health professional — psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health counselor. If you are feeling acutely suicidal — that is, you will end up attempting suicide within hours or days unless you can get some relief, you should bypass simply making an appointment with a doctor and, instead, immediately call 911 or go to your local emergency room and tell them that you are feeling suicidal. In such a case, there is absolutely no time to waste waiting for an appointment time sometime in the future.

Crisis Management

Don’t forget that in times of crisis, including a suicidal crisis, your local emergency room can provide immediate, temporary help and then also offer referrals to ongoing care options and practitioners.
1-800-273-TALK (8255) National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
TEXT: MHA to 74174

Where To Find Help

According to experts in the field, the types of professionals and institutions who can offer you help for depression should be considered in the following order.

Professions and Institutions that can directly help you with care and treatment.

  • Psychiatrists
  • Clinical Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Licensed mental health counselors

Professionals that can provide you with appropriate referrals to other mental health professionals.

  • Your family or primary care doctor
  • Your employer-provided Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • A nearby university or medical school-affiliated mental health clinic
  • Your local hospital
  • Local community mental health centers
  • Your clergy member
  • Your health insurance company or Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

How to choose a professional

When looking for a therapist, doctor or other health professional, it is a great idea and will likely make you more comfortable if you can get recommendations from someone you trust. For this reason, you should not be hesitant about asking for recommendations for therapists and doctors from those people you already know and trust — your family, friends, others in your social circle or other doctors.

However, if you are unsure where to go for help, there are referral services who will help you find local caregivers. You can also follow this link or this one to searchable databases of therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and mental health counselors all over North America as well as a listing of support groups. You can also contact professional societies and state licensure boards to see if they offer therapist or doctor referrals in your area. As a last resort, you can also search the Internet or telephone directories under keywords such as “mental health,” “health” “suicide prevention,” “crisis intervention” “therapists”, “physicians” or “hospitals.” depending on your circumstances and issues.

This page and site are not a substitute for nor is it intended to be a substitute for or to provide medical or psychological advice, care or treatment.

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National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Text: MHA to 741741

From anywhere in the US