Depression

What is Depression?

  • It is normal to feel “sad” or “blue” at times. Depression is different from these temporary feelings. Clinical depression is a biological, treatable illness that involves abnormal functioning of the brain’s chemicals that affects a person’s emotions, thoughts, energy, sleep, concentration and impairs how they feel about themselves and their relationships and the world.
  • Globally, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression.
  • Depression is an illness and therefore someone cannot “just get over it.”
  • Depression is a family illness. If one person in a family suffers from depression it affects the entire family.
  • Although rare, even preschool aged children may develop symptoms of depression.  By age 18, between 15 to 25% of adolescents will experience a major depressive episode. 
  • Peak years of onset of depression: 16-24 years old.
  • After age 15, girls and women are twice as likely as boys and men to have depression.
  • There are effective treatments for depression.  Early identification and treatment are very important in improving outcomes.

Where Does Depression Come From?

Resource Organizations » Depression » Ayer-Shirley

In Massachusetts

Organizations with hotlines

Call2Talk

(508) 532-2255, TEXT C2T to 741741 (Crisis Text Line)

1-888-811-3291

Email: info@uwotc.org

Call2Talk is a confidential mental health and emotional support call line that assists individuals and families through stressful times in their lives, helping the despondent and those who may be suicidal. When calling Call2Talk, those who are struggling with mental health concerns have a safe place to call and will be encouraged to discuss their current experience. Some callers even talk openly about their thoughts of suicide and are in search of options.  By sharing their personal stories of tragedy, recovery, despair and grief, callers feel relief, comfort and hope.

Samaritans

(877)870-4673

617-536-2460

Email: info@samaritanshope.org

Samaritans’ Crisis Services are available 24 hours a day/seven days a week. If one is feeling isolated, desperate or uncertain about anything in your life, this orginization is here to  hear about it – contact us anytime. The services are free, confidential, and anonymous. There are Samaritans staff on-site 24 hours a day to support those who phone, chat or text our volunteers for help. Samaritans' Crisis Services include a 24-hour befriending service and online emotional support via text and phone call. 

Organizations without hotlines

Adolescent Wellness, Inc.

781-727-8617

(877) 870-4673 (Anonymous Text Line)

Email: BobAnthony@AdolescentWellness.org

Adolescent Wellness, a non-profit 501c-3 organization, was founded to simplify prevention of depression and suicide in adolescents. A primary activity is creating awareness of prevention resources from McLean Hospital and Children's Hospital Boston, which are available to every school with any grade 7-12, including universal preventive intervention curricula. The newest work is in teen leadership programming on resilience and referral through supportive key adults.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance DBSA Merrimack Valley

888- 280-7773

Email: info@dbsamerrimackvalley.org

DBSA Merrimack Valley is a peer- based self-help support group focusing on issues surrounding bipolar and depressed individuals and their families. They are affiliated with the National Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. The mission of DBSA is to improve the lives of people living with mental illness. No appointments or referrals are needed to participate in their free groups. Meetings are open to anyone who suffer from the symptoms of a mood disorder, families and friends. Due to the sensitivity of the issues discussed and the privacy of our members, participants in group must be at least 18 years of age. Weekly meeting s are held:

  • Thursday 7:00-8:30pm at 1195 Varnum Avenue, Lowell MA in the Lowell First Church of The Nazarene

Depression Bipolar Support Alliance of Boston (DBSA-Boston)

617-855-2795

Email: info@dbsaboston.org

DBSA-Boston (formerly known as MDDA-Boston) is a resource for people with affective disorders - and their families and friends. Affective disorders such as bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness) and clinical depression affect millions of people every year. Coping with these disorders is difficult enough, but coping alone can be even tougher.

DBSA-Boston (Depression Bipolar Support Alliance) is a nonprofit, self-help organization run by and for people with affective disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder. DBSA members come together to share support and information with others in similar situations.

Elder Community Care

508-573-7250

"Elder Community Care is a network of agencies working together to serve elders in their own homes. The organization provides comprehensive assessment and counseling services to elders and their families in Metrowest. It also provides comprehensive assessment, counseling and referral services." 

Experience Journal

Email: ej@childrens.harvard.edu

The Experience Journals are designed to promote the healthy coping of children and their families who must contend with significant physical and emotional illnesses. The Experience Journals are collections of stories, pictures, and personal experiences from families about what it has been like to live with their children's illnesses. They represent the "collective wisdom" of these children and their parents as well as their health care providers.

Families for Depression Awareness

781-890-0220

Email: info@familyaware.org

Families for Depression Awareness is a national nonprofit organization helping families recognize and cope with depressive disorders to get people well and prevent suicides. The site includes information from families and professionals about their experiences with depression as well as a section specifically focused on children and teens.

Gould Farm

413-528-1804

Email: info@gouldfarm.org

Gould Farm is the first residential therapeutic community in the nation dedicated to helping adults with mental illness move toward recovery, health and greater independence through community living, meaningful work and individual clinical care.
In a supportive community environment made up of residents, staff and their families, we help adults with depression, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia begin to rebuild and regain their lives. Gould Farm offers a full continuum of care, with a Boston-area program for those ready for new challenges and structured transition.

MassMen

MassMen.org is a comprehensive resource for Massachusetts men and their loved ones, offering statewide mental health information, resources, and online self-assessments. Online self-assessments are provided for free and are available anytime through Screening for Mental Health, Inc.

School Psychiatry Program and MADI Resource Center

For Children and Adolescents: 617-726-2725

For Adults: 617-724-7792

Email: info@schoolpsychiatry.org

Schoolpsychiatry.org is a joint project of the School Psychiatry Program and the Mood & Anxiety Disorders Institute (MADI) Resource Center, both of the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Schoolpsychiatry.org is committed to enhancing the education and mental health of every student in every school. The Mood & Anxiety Disorders Institute (MADI) Resource Center translates the latest research advances into practical information, helping people work with their clinicians toward the most accurate diagnosis and best possible treatment results. The Center also offers resources and support to help people manage daily living with mood and anxiety disorders and cope with the disorders' effects on family relationships.

Springwell, Inc.

617-926-4100

Email: inforef@springwell.com

Springwell is a private, non-profit agency that has been creating, managing, and coordinating services for seniors, individuals with disabilities and those who help care for them for more than 30 years. Along the way, the organization has amassed a wealth of knowledge and insight about the many public and private resources available. It serves all elders, individuals with disabilities and their families regardless of financial situation or level of need. It's reputation for excellence is why more than 10,000 families turn to it each year for support.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness - Veteran and Service Member Resources

617-580-8541

Toll Free: 800-370-9085 (M-F 9am-5pm)

Fax: 617-580-8673

Email: info@namimass.org

The National Alliance on Mental Illness maintains a helpline for information on mental illnesses and referrals to local groups. The local self-help groups have support and advocacy components and offer education and information about community services for diverse communities comprising of LGBTQ individuals, veterans, active duty military members, teens, young adults, older adults and families. Local chapters can be found through the main website. For information about the Alliance's affiliates and activities in MA, contact NAMI Massachusetts.

Outside Massachusetts

Organizations with hotlines

Crisis Text Line

Text START: 741-741
Email: support@crisistextline.org

Crisis Text Line serves young people in any type of crisis, providing them access to free, 24/7, emotional support and information they need via the medium they already use and trust: text. Just text "START" to 741-741. Here's how it works:

  • A teen texts into CTL anywhere, anytime.
  • A live, trained specialist receives the text and responds quickly.
  • The specialist helps the teen stay safe and healthy with effective, secure counseling and referrals through text message using CTL's platform.

CTL partners with existing organizations that are experienced, highly trained, and well-equipped to respond to teens in crisis: experienced crisis centers, youth-serving organizations, and experts in the youth and mental health fields. CTL also lists resources on a variety of topics with helplines or email addresses where they can learn about additional support.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)

1-800-273-8255

800-826-3632

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) is the leading patient-directed national organization focusing on the most prevalent mental illnesses. DBSA supports research to promote more timely diagnosis, develop more effective and tolerable treatments and discover a cure. DBSA's prestigious 65-member Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) is comprised of the leading researchers and clinicians in the field of mood disorders. DBSA has a grassroots network of nearly 1,000 patient-run support groups across the country. DBSA has 17 state organizations and more than 400 chapters across America. DBSA publishes more than two dozen educational materials about living with mood disorders, all available free of charge.

HopeLine

(call or text) 919-231-4525 or 877-235-4525

919-832-3326 (office)

Email: director@hopeline-nc.org

 HopeLine is an organization originally founded by a group of concerned local citizens. In 1970, through local research, they determined that Wake County needed a confidential telephone service for people in crisis to call. HopeLine offers a free crisis service via phone or text and makes referrals to appripriate services. HelpLine also produces many community programs on the helpline itself as well as training on how to recognize signs of distress and appropriate services within the community. Volunteers also run a free reassurance program for senior citizens and those who are disabled consisting of telephone calls as well as crisis counseling.

Kristin Brooks Hope Center

1-800-442-HOPE (4673)

1-800-784-2433

Email: info@imalive.org

Kristin Brooks Hope Center is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization the focuses on suicide prevention, awareness and education. This organization provides help and hope through college campus and high school events, online suicide crisis chat, suicide crisis hotlines and other educational programs.  The Hope Center offers the first networked Hopeline helping to coordinate efforts of over 200 crisis centers across the country.  In addition, they support IMAlive, the world’s first virtual crisis center, that welcomes volunteers from all over the world. If one needs support, they can call their crisis hotline, or connect with them to chat with an experienced volunteer.

Postpartum Support International

1.800.944.4773

503-894-9453

Email: support@postpartum.net

"Dedicated PSI members, leaders, and friends work tirelessly across all levels to meet goals of the shared PSI mission of support, education, advocacy, and research for people living with mental illness through various activities" including a toll-free helpline, newsletters, support coordinators, and free phone calls with "experts". 

Organizations without hotlines

"CAMPAIGN TO END LONELINESS" PROGRAM

Email: askus@programsforelderly.com

A coalition of organizations and individuals working together to fight elderly loneliness, elderly depression and to inspire older adults to keep connected and engaged in the UK. of elderly loneliness as well as to increase public awareness of elderly lonliness and become aware of changes in life that can cause loneliness in older age, and to reduce chronic loneliness which may lead to elderly depression. The "Campaign to End Loneliness" Program aims to increase awareness and tackle the underlying factors causing elderly loneliness. The campaign works through research, policy, campaigning and innovation to combat loneliness and inspire individuals to keep connected in older age. The campaign also recognizes the impact that access to senior transportation and senior housing has on elderly loneliness.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)

240-485-1001

Email: information@adaa.org

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) - formerly The Anxiety Disorders Association of America - is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the prevention, treatment and cure of anxiety disorders and to improve the lives of all people who suffer from them. ADAA is dedicated to informing the public, health care professionals, and media that anxiety disorders are real, serious, and treatable. ADAA promotes professional and public awareness of anxiety and related disorders (such as PTSD, OCD, panic disorder, social anxiety) and their impact on people's lives. The organization also links people who need treatment with the health care professionals who provide it. The ADAA website also provides listings of anxiety disorder support groups offered across the United States.

Authentic Happiness

Email: ahinfo@authentichappiness.org

Authentic Happiness is the homepage of Dr. Martin Seligman, Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania and founder of positive psychology, a branch of psychology which focuses on the empirical study of such things as positive emotions, strengths-based character, and healthy institutions.Positive psychology theory and research has been applied across many domains, from education to health to neuroscience. Now on Authentic Happiness you can read overviews of some of the largest initiatives currently underway, including: positive health, positive education, comprehensive soldier fitness, positive psychotherapy, and positive neuroscience.

Black Mental Health Alliance

410-338-2642

"The primary mission of the BMHA is to provide a forum and promote a holistic, culturally relevant approach to the development and maintenance of optimal mental health programs and services for African Americans and other people of color. Further, BMHA promotes appropriate mental health care, service delivery, provider networks, and theoretical understanding through culturally relevant approaches and models in education and consultation". BMHA offers depression screenings, information about mental health fairs, community resource information, and referrals for behavioral health. 

Blue Pages

BluePages provides information on treatments for depression based on the latest scientific evidence. BluePages also offers screening tests for depression and anxiety, a depression search engine, and links to other helpful resources.

FAMpod: Families Overcoming and Preventing Depression

Email: info@fampod.org

The FAMpod website represents a resource developed by researchers at Boston Children's Hospital, Judge Baker Children's Center and the Stone Primary Prevention Initiatives at the Wellesley Center for Women, Wellesley College to distill what they have learned from years of research, practice and advocacy into programs that are helpful for individuals experiencing depression, as well as those living with or working with individuals experiencing depression.  This effort has culiminated in the creation of 2 free programs both of which are available here.  The first, Parent Talk, is a resource developed for parents facing depression within the family and the second, Family Talk, is a training course designed for clinicians helping these families.

Freedom From Fear

(718) 351-1717

Email: help@freedomfromfear.org

Freedom From Fear is a national not-for-profit mental health advocacy association. The mission of FFF is to impact, in a positive way, the lives of all those affected by anxiety, depressive and related disorders through advocacy, education, research and community support. There is plenty of information on anxiety and depression along with self-screening tools for these conditions, referrals for support groups and mental health professionals, and resources on accessing treatment for those with and without health insurance. This website contains valuable information based on research findings on anxiety and depressive illnesses and the treatments that work.
 

Geriatric Mental Health Foundation

(703) 556-9222

Email: web@GMHFonline.org

The Geriatric Mental Health Foundation was established by the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry to raise awareness of psychiatric and mental health disorders affecting the elderly, eliminate the stigma of mental illness and treatment, promote healthy aging strategies, and increase access to quality mental health care for the elderly. Explore the site for mental health information for older adults and their families, to find a geriatric psychiatrist, for news of Foundation programs and events, and much more.

Man Therapy

Man Therapy is giving men a resource they desperately need: a resource to help men understand the realities of suicide and mental health, in the hopes of helping put a stop to the suicide deaths of so many. This interactive website featuring "Dr. Rich Mahogany" provides psychoeducational information geared towards men about stress, anger, depression, substance abuse and suicide, as well as tools to manage these concerns. It also includes an "18 point head inspection" where men can take a survey about how they are coping, and there is a provider search screen with options from groups and active activities to lists of professional counselors.

Mental Health America

Toll-Free: 800-969-6642

Office: 703-684-7722

TTY: 800-433-5959

Mental Health America (formerly known as the National Mental Health Association) is the country's leading nonprofit dedicated to helping ALL people live mentally healthier lives. With more than 320 affiliates nationwide, they represent a growing movement of Americans who promote mental wellness for the health and well-being of the nation -- everyday and in times of crisis.

Mood Gym

MoodGYM is an Australian website with an interactive program designed to help you:

  • Identify whether you are having problems with emotions like anxiety and depression,
  • Learn skills that can help you cope with these emotions.

MoodGYM is based on two programs which are successful in preventing and treating depression and anxiety. These are: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Interpersonal Therapy. MoodGYM is designed to be used by people who would like to prevent mental health problems or manage problems which are troubling but not incapacitating. MoodGYM is not specifically designed for use by people with clinical levels of depression or anxiety. MoodGYM suggests that those with depression scores above 2-3 seek contact with a health professional.

Project Semicolon

1-866-707-3177

Email: michael@projectsemicolon.com

"Project Semicolon is an organization devoted to the prevention of suicide. Our work is based on the foundation and belief that suicide is preventable and everyone has a role to play in preventing suicide. Through raising public awareness, educating communities, and equipping every person with the right tools, we know we can save lives."

 

This organization also provides information and resources about other mental health topics and disorders as well as the chance to share one's own story, personal screenings tools, and helps one find services right on their website.

The Balanced Mind Parent Network

Helpline for Resource and Referral: 800-826-3632

312-642-0049

Email: helpline@thebalancedmind.org

The Balanced Mind Parent Network (BMPN), a program of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), guides families raising children with mood disorders to the answers, support and stability they seek. The Balanced Mind Foundation envisions a world where children living with mood disorders thrive because their families have the resources, community and support they need.

The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation

Main Line: 646-681-4888

Toll Free: 800-829-8289

Email: info@bbrfoundation.org

The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (formerly NARSAD, the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression) is committed to alleviating the suffering of mental illness by awarding grants that will lead to advances and breakthroughs in scientific research. The BBR Foundation offers news on the research it funds as well as information (documents and videos) about these and other disorders in children and adults. It also provides guidance and resources for families coping with a child or parent with mental illness.