NAMI Advocate
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How can I help myself if I am depressed?

  • See your doctor or mental health professional to set up a treatment plan; this may include medication, support groups, or psychotherapy.  Try to be an active participant in your care.
  • Stick to the treatment plan and educate yourself about your condition.
  • Engage in mild exercise:  it has been shown to reduce depression symptoms.
  • Take care not to become isolated; stay involved with or expand your support network.
  • Make sure that you continue to do things that you love doing.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself.
  • If you’re feeling overwhelmed by tasks of daily living, break up large tasks into smaller ones; set some priorities and do what you can as you are able.
  • Try to spend time with others and confide in a trusted friend or relative.
  • Expect your mood to improve gradually. Often times with treatment, sleep and appetite will improve before your depressed mood dissipates.
  • Remember that positive thinking will replace negative thoughts as you respond to treatment.

Where can I go for help?

  • Mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, or mental health counselors.  Recommendations can come from your local NAMI affiliate, your health insurance provider, or the SAMHSA treatment locator (800) 729-6686, option #2).
  • Community mental health centers or outpatient clinics.
  • Mental health programs at universities, medical schools, and state hospital outpatient clinics.
  • Family/social services or clergy.
  • Peer support groups or education programs can be found through your local NAMI affiliate, local hospital, or other mental health organization.
  • Employee assistance programs.
  • Check the phone book or internet under "mental health," "health," "social services," or "physicians" for other resources.

If you are thinking of hurting yourself, please call a crisis line at 1 (800) 273-8255.  You will be routed to the crisis center near you, or go to your local hospital emergency room.

**Information adapted from,, and

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