Depression is a health condition. People feel sad, discouraged, or hopeless for weeks, months, even years. For people with depression, it can seem like things will never get better. When depression is treated, things can start to look brighter and more manageable again.

But severe depression can cloud a person's thinking. This can make it harder to reach out for help. Severe depression may lead some people to think that life isn't worth living. Sometimes feelings of hopelessness are so deep that a person considers suicide.

People who are extremely depressed and may be thinking about hurting themselves need help as soon as possible. When depression is this severe, it is a medical emergency.

What to Do

If this is you, tell someone how you feel. Ask an adult for help. Visit a suicide help site, like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or call their helpline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Reach out for the help you deserve.

Suicide lifelines or crisis centers are there to help you figure out how to work through tough situations and feelings. They are staffed by trained professionals who can help you without ever knowing your name or seeing your face. Most national helplines are staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential — no one you know will find out that you've called.

If you feel suicidal, you can also call 911 or go to the emergency room. Mental health crises are just as much of an emergency as physical health crises.

Helping a Friend

Severe depression can block a person's view of a better future. Someone who is depressed might not see what’s going on. Friends or family are often the ones who notice how serious things are.

It's important to support and care for a friend who is very depressed. But you probably can't make your friend's depression or suicidal feelings go away. Depression can be so strong that it blocks your friend's ability to see reason.

The Road to Recovery

Depression can get better with the right attention and care. A psychologist, psychiatrist, or other therapist can evaluate and diagnose depression and create a plan to treat it.

If you're feeling depressed but it's not an emergency, you should still talk to your doctor, school counselor, nurse, or another trusted adult. If the first person you talk to isn't much help, try another adult until you find someone who understands. With serious depression, it's essential to get help.

If a friend who's severely depressed made you promise not to tell anyone what's going on, the best way to help is by breaking that promise. Severe depression is a situation where telling can save a life. The most important thing a depressed person can do is to get help.

If you (or a friend) feel unsafe or out of control, get help now. Tell a trusted adult, call 911, or go to the emergency room.

Back to Articles


Related Articles

I'm Thinking of Suicide. How Can I Get Help?

Find out what the experts have to say.

Read More

Death and Grief

If someone close to you has died, you probably feel overwhelmed with grief. Read about some things that might help you cope.

Read More

Going to a Therapist

Getting help with emotions or stress is the same as getting help with a medical problem like asthma or diabetes. This article explains how therapy works and how it can help with problems.

Read More

Stress & Coping Center

Visit our stress and coping center for advice on how to handle stress, including different stressful situations.

Read More

Finding Low-Cost Mental Health Care

If you need mental health care but don't think you can afford it, you're not alone. Get tips on finding low-cost or free mental health care in this article for teens.

Read More

My Friend Is Talking About Suicide. What Should I Do?

Have you heard that people who talk about suicide won't go through with it? That's not true. Read this article to learn some of the other warning signs that a person is considering suicide.

Read More

Coping With Stressful Situations

How well we get through a stressful situation depends a lot on us. It's how we deal with that makes all the difference. Here are some ways to understand and manage stress.

Read More

Depression

Depression is very common. For more information about depression and feeling better, check out this article.

Read More

Suicide

We all feel overwhelmed by difficult emotions or situations sometimes. Here are the warning signs of suicide and ways to get help.

Read More

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.

Search our entire site.