Depression can affect anyone—young and old, men and women, and people from all ethnic groups and all professions.
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States and can affect your body, feelings, thoughts and behavior. It can also cause emotional and physical pain. Severe depression may include repeated thoughts of death or suicide—or attempted suicide.
Depression may be caused by problems with activity levels in certain parts of your brain. Or if chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters are out of balance. Due to myths and stigma about depression though, some people incorrectly view depression as a character flaw or a sign of personal weakness. Because of this, suffering can last for months or even years.
When depression is correctly diagnosed, it’s almost always treatable. At HealthPartners and Park Nicollet, we take an integrated approach to treatment, using the skills and experience of both our primary care doctors and mental and behavioral health specialists to give you the care you need.
If you or someone you know has been suffering for a few weeks, a few months or even longer, we’re here to help.
Signs of depression vary from person to person and may include:
- No longer enjoying most or all activities that previously gave you pleasure
- Tiredness or lack of energy
- Change in sleep patterns
- Change in appetite, or weight loss or gain
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Difficulty working
- Change in personal relationships
- Persistent feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness or hopelessness
- General irritability
We use a variety of methods when understanding whether someone has depression. First, we’ll talk with you about how you’ve been feeling and take note of all symptoms, both mental and physical. We use your answers to make an assessment and diagnosis, and then begin talking with you about treatment options.
Our team includes primary care doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and licensed clinical social workers with expertise in treating depression. Depression is commonly treated with medication, talk therapy and lifestyle changes. Often a combination of all three is most effective. We will work with you to develop a treatment plan you’re comfortable with.
Medication can be an effective treatment option for depression. The most commonly-prescribed medications for depression are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). We will work with you to find a medication that works best for you.
Our primary care doctors may recommend or refer you to one of our behavioral health professionals for talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy or therapy. Talk therapy with a psychologist or other behavioral health professional involves talking and then taking action to make changes based on your therapy discussion.
While it may sound simple, another common treatment for mental health conditions involves making healthy lifestyle changes. Sometimes we don’t realize how our basic daily routine may be affecting our health. Combined with therapy or medication, specific changes to your sleep schedule, diet or exercise can improve your daily mental and physical health.
We may also recommend quitting smoking and cutting back on substances like caffeine and alcohol, which can make mental conditions worse. But you won’t be asked to make these changes alone. We’re here to offer guidance and support so lifestyle changes are easier to adopt and sustain long-term.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is used to treat patients who haven’t responded to other treatment options for depression. With TMS, magnetic pulses stimulate nerve cells in the part of the brain that controls the mood, which is often underactive in patients with depression. Repeated stimulation of this part of the brain has been proven to have an antidepressant effect on people with depression.
You may be a candidate for TMS if you are over the age of 18 with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder and other treatment options, like talk therapy and medication, haven’t worked for you. Your doctor will determine whether you are a candidate for TMS based on your history and diagnosis.
At HealthPartners and Park Nicollet our primary care doctors receive additional training to diagnose and treat common conditions like depression. This way we can help you see a doctor more quickly, getting you answers and a treatment plan faster.
If you haven’t talked to a doctor about your symptoms, we recommend starting with a visit to one of our primary care doctors. We’ll listen to your concerns and can connect you to the right specialist if needed.
Your first visit is about getting answers. During this appointment, you’ll talk with us about how you’ve been feeling. We’ll be able to provide a diagnosis and start talking with you about treatment options.
Some patients respond well to talk therapy, some are successfully treated with medication and sometimes a combination of both is best. We respect our patients’ preferences and will work with you to develop a treatment plan that you’re comfortable with.
Our team includes:
Our primary care doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners can diagnose and treat depression, and can also refer patients to one of our specialists if needed.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who train for eight to 10 years to understand the ties between physical and mental health. Psychiatrists can provide a variety of treatments – including prescribing medications – and usually see patients with more complex mental health conditions like severe depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Psychologists have a doctoral degree in psychology and are experts on the human mind. Psychologists focus on talk therapies, and work with our psychiatrists to prescribe medication when needed. They tend to focus on helping people with things like anxiety, learning challenges and behavioral disorders.
Therapists are mental health specialists who work with patients to diagnose and treat disorders, such as anxiety or compulsive behaviors, through a variety of psychological treatments. Therapists vary by type of educational degree or practicing license. Examples of therapists include marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers and licensed professional counselors.
If you or someone close to you needs help now, we have options.
If this is an emergency, please call 911. If you or someone you know is considering self-harm, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for confidential support 24/7.
Call for 24/7 help:
- For HealthPartners patients, please call 612-339-3663 or 800-551-0859.
- For Park Nicollet patients, please call your clinic directly. For help after business hours, call 952-993-4665.
- Urgent care – Walk in and meet with a doctor at any of our 23 urgent care locations in the Twin Cities and western Wisconsin. Open weekdays, weekends and some holidays with no appointment needed.
- Emergency room – If you or someone you know needs emergency mental health care, visit the emergency room at Regions Hospital, which specializes in mental health.
As an organization, we’re helping Make It OK to talk about mental health. We know that it’s important to remove the stigma around mental health and clear the way for honest conversations. Only then can we fully support one another and make treatment more accessible for everyone. Our Make It OK program offers tools and resources for how to talk about mental health issues in a respectful way.
We also facilitate a conversation around mental health with every person who walks through our clinic doors. We ask a number of questions to open up the dialogue around mental health and ensure we’re addressing our patients’ physical and emotional health equally.
We accept most health insurance plans, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, CIGNA, HealthPartners, Medica, Medicare, PreferredOne and many others.
Not sure what your insurance covers? Call the number on the back of your card for help looking at your options.
Don’t have your card in front of you? Here are member services numbers to help you get started:
- HealthPartners: 800-883-2177
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota: 800-382-2000
- CIGNA: 800-244-6224 (insurance through work); 866-494-2111 (insurance directly or through the Exchange)
- Medica: 800-952-3455
- Medicare: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)
- PreferredOne: 763-847-4477 (in the Twin Cities); 800-997-1750 (outside the metro area)
- United Healthcare: 877-842-3210