A woman sits with her grandmother next to a peaceful pond.


Compassionate support and treatment for depression

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.

Symptoms of depression

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
  • Self-harm


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.

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.

Talk therapy

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.

Lifestyle changes

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

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.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)