Getting the best treatment

You might be feeling unwell and do not know if you need treatment or not. To see if you may be in need of treatment, you can complete the self-test that can be accessed in the box 'Recognising Depression' on the left side of the page. If you are a family member of someone who might be experiencing depression, you can take the quiz here.  If the test suggests that you could benefit from help, we recommend that you contact your GP to arrange a more in-depth assessment.  Either your GP will state that you do not meet the criteria for a diagnosis of depression, or he/she will confirm the diagnosis of depression or another diagnosis. If your doctor prescribes medication, make sure that you completely understand his/her instructions. As with other medications, it’s important to follow the doctor’s instructions carefully in order to achieve the best possible treatment results.  You can find more detailed information about depression medication later in this section.

Although it is usually the GP who manages a patient’s depression, sometimes people may be referred to other professionals.

  • Your GP might state that they don’t feel comfortable either in diagnosing or treating you for mental health issues because it may be outside their area of expertise; he/she may then refer you to a mental health professional
  •  Likewise, if you feel that your GP is not specialised enough in the area of mental health, you could ask for referral to a mental health professional, such as a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist
  • If you already have a diagnosed depressive disorder and you are on medication prescribed by your GP, you may be referred for psychotherapy
  • If your GP is not certain whether medication needs to be prescribed, he/she may refer you to a psychiatrist
  • If you are suffering from very severe depression and are in immediate danger of harming yourself or someone else, you may be admitted to inpatient mental health care.

If you are too unwell to see your GP, a family member may consult with your GP to discuss the best treatment option.