Feelings of sadness, guilt and frustration are, while unpleasant, normal emotions that everyone experiences occasionally. However, if sadness or a depressed mood lasts for longer than two weeks such emotions may indicate clinical depression. Severe depression symptoms include suicidal thoughts and behavior, and require immediate treatment.

Help for depression is available, and includes depression medication, therapy, and new treatments such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). People exhibiting suicidal behavior may require temporary hospitalization until depression treatment reduces symptom severity.

Suicide Statistics and Depression

More than 33,000 Americans end their lives every year, according to suicide statistics provided by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Of these deaths, 60 percent occur in people with major depression. In all, 30 percent of people suffering from clinical depression attempt suicide.

According to AFSP suicide statistics, women are three times as likely as men to attempt suicide. Men, however, are four times as likely to die as the result of a suicide attempt.

Where to Seek Help for Depression

People seeking help for depression can access many types of assistance. Possible sources of depression help include:

  • Clergy
  • Community health centers
  • Depression and suicide hotlines
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Family doctors
  • Local hospitals
  • Mental health clinics
  • Mental health counselors
  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Social workers
  • Support groups.

When to Seek Help for Depression

Whenever sadness, guilt, or other symptoms of depression last longer than two weeks, it’s advisable to seek help for depression. While these symptoms may be signs of depression, they may also indicate another mental illness, or could have an underlying physical cause.

If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts or behavior, get help right away. Go to the nearest emergency room and tell the staff you’re having suicidal thoughts. People unable to reach emergency rooms can call a 24-hour suicide hotline, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Professional Help for Depression

Help for depression can be very effective. Depression medication is often the first line of treatment for severely depressed individuals, as medication provides the fastest symptom relief. However, it can take up to two weeks for depression medication to lead to symptom improvement. Because of this, suicidal individuals must be closely monitored in the early stages of depression treatment.

Therapy for depression is offered either alone or in combination with depression medication. Therapy for depression can help people examine and change habits or thought patterns that contribute to the condition.

Not all cases of depression respond to therapy or medication. Alternative treatments for such cases exist, including transcranial magnetic stimulation, which provides help for depression symptoms by painlessly stimulating the brain with powerful magnetic fields.