- About Depression
- Should I Call a Depression Helpline?
- What Questions Should I Ask?
- What Is Depression?
- Free Hotline Numbers
Depression HotlinesDepression hotline numbers are a valuable resource if you are experiencing depression or if you have a friend or loved one who may be depressed.
People dealing with depression may believe they will never feel better and that nothing and no one can help them. It is important to know, however, that these feelings can be treated. Free depression hotlines can help people understand their feelings and guide them to the best mental health resources.
Seeking help is the first step to conquer depression and begin feeling like yourself again. Free, national hotlines are available 24/7 for anyone who needs help managing their depression.
A depression crisis hotline can address dangerous substance abuse behaviors and any other mental health challenges that may be contributing to depression.Depression is a mental illness that has a significant effect on a person’s ability to function normally, and is marked by persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, worthlessness, and hopelessness. These feelings can continue for years if left untreated.1–3 It is estimated that up to 15% of the adult population will experience depression at some point in their lifetime.2 There are many types of depression, including premenstrual depression, postpartum depression, seasonal depression, and persistent depression (or dysthymia) that occur alongside other mental health issues such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.1,3
Depression often does not occur alone—many people living with depression experience some other mental illness as well. Depression has a high rate of co-occurrence with both anxiety (up to 60%) and substance use disorders.4,5 A depression crisis hotline can address dangerous substance abuse behaviors and any other mental health challenges that may be contributing to depression. If you are experiencing thoughts of hurting yourself or others, call 911 immediately or go to your nearest emergency room or psychiatric hospital for a crisis evaluation.
Should I Call a Depression Helpline?
All too often, people who are depressed isolate themselves from those they love or others who may be able to help. Isolation can make depression feel worse and increase the risk that a person will experience suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Helplines are available to those who feel like they need someone to talk to but may not know where to start.
Depression hotlines offer a free and confidential service that is available 24 hours a day to help you start on a path toward healing. Sometimes it can be helpful to express what you are experiencing to another human being, to get your feelings out and lift that burden off your chest.
Calling a depression hotline is your opportunity to:
- Get information about depression and general mental health disorders.
- Talk to someone who understands what you are going through.
- Receive help confidentially and anonymously.
- Find a counselor, therapist, or mental health treatment facility.
- Learn how depression is treated.
- Discover how to help a loved one who is experiencing depression.
- Get more information about how depression is related to other mental health issues.
The caring staff at depression hotlines know what you’re going through and want to lend a helping hand in your time of need. One of the benefits of calling a depression helpline is that everything you say will remain completely anonymous and private; no one will ever have to know what you disclose.
You don't have to be depressed to call a helpline. If you are concerned about someone close to you and would like to learn more about how you can help, depression hotline numbers are a great place to start. This service is free and available around the clock to help you be better prepared to help your loved one.
Depression hotlines can help you better understand the treatments and services available so you can take the next steps and better understand what you are experiencing. While depression can cause a person to feel alone and unable to identify with the world around them, many people with depression have a similar experience. Talking to someone can help you gain some clarity and feel more optimistic about your future.
What Questions Should I Ask?
Living with mental health challenges can be difficult and confusing. Free depression hotlines can help you successfully navigate this period in your life by answering questions that you may not even realize you needed answered.
Here are some questions to consider asking when you call a depression hotline:
- What are some common symptoms of depression?
- Do I actually have depression, or am I just sad?
- Will I feel like this for the rest of my life?
- Is it possible to have more than one mental illness at a time?
- What can I do to start feeling better?
- What should I expect when I seek treatment?
- What levels of treatment are there for depression?
- What type of therapy or medication can help me resolve my depression?
- Will I have to be on medication for the rest of my life?
- Will insurance cover the cost of treatment?
- If I don't have insurance, how much will treatment cost? Are there any free or low-cost resources in my community?
- What should I do next?
Watching a loved one struggle with depression can be just as difficult and frustrating as experiencing it firsthand. Family members may feel helpless or even give up trying to help their loved one. It is important for family and friends to know that resources are available for them as well.
Calling a depression hotline can help you answer the following questions:
- How can I tell if someone I love is dealing with depression?
- Should I confront this person, or is there another way I can start the conversation?
- How can I show my support?
- Are there any support groups for family and friends of people with depression?
- What options do I have if I fear that my loved one is at risk of hurting themselves or someone else?
What Is Depression?
Depression does not have to be a life sentence, even though a person experiencing a depressive episode might feel like it is.Many life events can leave us feeling sad or down, but depression is different than just being sad. Situational sadness becomes depression when it lasts longer than 2 weeks, when you experience it for most of the day nearly every day, when your symptoms are distressing, and when you experience a negative impact in one or more areas of your life.1–3
Depression can affect your ability to function at work, school, or home and can reduce your motivation to engage in social and recreational activities.1–3 Common symptoms of depression include:1–3
- Feeling sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, or generally pessimistic.
- Feeling more irritable than normal.
- Not doing the things you used to enjoy because you have no interest and/or motivation.
- Feeling easily fatigued or generally lacking energy.
- Experiencing changes in your sleep and/or appetite.
- Having difficulty thinking, making decisions, concentrating, or remembering things.
- Having an increase in physical ailments with no medical reason or evidence as to why.
- Thinking of death or suicide.
Depression does not have to be a life sentence, even though a person experiencing a depressive episode might feel like it is. There are treatments that have proven effective, and people with depression typically find relief from a combination of psychotherapy and medication.1,2
Teenage depression, like depression in adults, has a negative impact on social, school, and family functioning.2,6 Depression during formative stages of childhood and adolescence can impact personality development.2
Unlike adult depression, depression in teenagers may present as increased irritability, instead of low mood.1 Teenage depression is also unlike adult depression because it cannot be easily treated with anti-depressants.2 In fact, medications can make depression symptoms in teenagers worsen and can increase thoughts of suicide.1,2
If you are a teenager or parent of a teenager who may be depressed, contact a teenage depression hotline to get answers about the best treatment options.
Free Hotline Numbers
If your depression has caused you to lose a job, drop out of school, lose touch with family or friends, or if you’ve noticed changes in your sleep and appetite that have not improved, contact one of these free resources to learn more about treating your depression.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
SAMHSA’s behavioral health treatment services locator is an easy and anonymous way to locate treatment facilities and other resources, such as support groups and counselors, to treat and manage depression.
- National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
If your depression is leading to suicidal thoughts, call the National Hopeline to connect with a depression treatment center in your area. The Hopeline also offers a live chat feature for those who don’t want to (or are unable to) call and can dispatch emergency crews to your location if necessary.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
This national hotline is another valuable resource for people whose depression has escalated to suicidal or other harmful thoughts. Their network of crisis centers provide emotional support and guidance to people in distress and are also available via a chat service and a special hotline number for the hearing impaired: 1-800-799-4889.
- National Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-800-448-4663
This resource provides brief interventions for youth who are dealing with pregnancy, sexual abuse, child abuse, depression and suicidal thoughts. They also provide referrals to local counseling, treatment centers, and shelters.
- National Institute of Mental Health. (2016). Depression.
- Bylund, D. B., & Reed, A. L. (2007). Childhood and Adolescent Depression: Why do children and adults respond differently to antidepressant drugs? Neurochemistry International, 51(5), 246–253.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Washington, D.C: American Psychiatric Association.
- Cameron, O.G. (2007). Understanding Comorbid Depression and Anxiety. Psychiatric Times, (24)14, 51–56.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2010). Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Illnesses.
- National Institute of Mental Health. (2017). Child and Adolescent Mental Health.