Managing severe depression

Depression is very common, but also very treatable. With the right care — including therapy, medication, or a combination of both — most people with depression feel better and enjoy life more.

Need help now?

If you think you have a medical or psychiatric emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. Do not attempt to access emergency care through this website.

People experiencing depression can have intense feelings. If you feel like you can't cope any longer or that your life isn't worth living, get help right away. These are signs that you need to talk to someone.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week — to connect with a local crisis counselor who can listen and help.

Call 1-800-273-8255. For TTY, call 1-800-799-4889.

You can also chat online with a crisis counselor at


Mental health services at Kaiser Permanente

All it takes is a phone call — we’ll help you connect to the clinical services and support you need. You don’t need a referral to access mental health care.

Call us to get started.


Types of care

Everyone’s mental health and wellness journey is different — so your treatment will be personalized to fit your needs. We’ll get to know you and help guide you through your options. From individual therapy and psychiatry to health classes and support groups, we’ve got you covered.

Learn more about your care options.

You can also talk to your personal doctor, who can help you access the right care for you.



Antidepressants change the balance of chemicals in the brain that often cause depression. You may need to try several antidepressants before you find the one that works best for you. Talk to your doctor about whether antidepressants might be right for you.

Common medications for depression include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft).
  • Serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), such as venlafaxine (Effexor), venlafaxine SR (Effexor XR), and duloxetine (Cymbalta).
  • Other antidepressants, such as bupropion (Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR), mirtazapine (Remeron), and trazodone (Desyrel).

More on medication.


See all care options

If you have depression, we have a range of care options depending on your symptoms.

Take the self-assessment

Depression is a real – and common – medical condition that can affect your mind, body, and spirit. Take this self-assessment to see if you have any symptoms of depression.




Reviewed by Nolan Thompson, MD, April 2019.