How to get help for depression, and when to reach out

Depression can be an extremely isolating illness, and one with causes you to question your own sanity.

Some of the symptoms of depression include low mood, loss of energy, a feeling of worthlessness, or difficulty concentrating and making decisions.

As such, it might make it hard for some people to seek help; with some feeling like they don’t deserve it, and others unsure of what’s out there to help them.

Thankfully, there’s many places you can turn to, and although you might have to wait for a while for things like therapy, it’s very worthwhile to reach out.

When to seek help for depression

The NHS state that ‘as a general rule, if you’re depressed, you feel sad, hopeless and lose interest in things you used to enjoy.’

There can also be other psychological symptoms including irritability, feelings of guilt, and constant low self esteem, as well as physical ones like low sex drive, appetite changes, or constipation.

They recommend that you seek help if you experience symptoms for most of the day, every day, for two weeks or more.

However, if you’re feeling low for no reason and and want to speak to a professional, it’s worth doing so even if you haven’t reached this length of time.

How to get help for depression

The type of help you need will depend on the severity of you’re situation.

If you’re in crisis and feel like you may harm yourself or others, then it’s best to go to A&E.

A few helplines you can try if you’d rather reach out over the phone include:

  • Sane Charity – between 4.30pm and 10.30pm 365 days a year – 0300 304 7000
  • The Samaritans – 24 hour – 116 123
  • NHS 111 – 24 hour

For more long-term support, your GP is a good place to start. They’ll ask you about your symptoms, and will decide on the right treatment, which may be medication, therapy, or a combination of both.

Some areas have IAPT services available, where you can self-refer without having to get a GPs appointment and be sent to the right mental health service. You can check if there’s one in your area on the NHS website.

You may find it easier to write down some of the symptoms your experiencing in a diary or list, as this can help you feel less nervous when you’re speaking about something so personal to you.

It’s worth remembering that there may be waiting times for certain treatments, so to ask your GP about ways to cope in the meantime.

They’re not there to judge you, and will be keen to work with you to improve your symptoms and find the right way forward.

If you’d prefer to go private, you can use the BACP website to find qualified consellors and psycotherapists in your area. Similarly, the BABCP has a register of accredited CBT therapists available, if that’s the treatment you’d prefer.

Costs can vary, and there’s no guarantee that the first person you speak to will be the therapist who suits you. Going forward and speaking about what’s going on in your head, though, will always be a positive step.

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