Depression Assistance in Southern California
Approximately 2.8 million people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with depression each year, but only a fraction of those people will go on to seek treatment. Many will also not see a doctor to get an official diagnosis, despite the severity of their depression symptoms. So why don’t people seek assistance for their depression?
There are many reasons why adults and adolescents when confronted with depression symptoms, do not reach out for help for depression. While the dialogue surrounding depression and mental illness has opened up a little bit in the past few years, there is still a significant stigma surrounding mental illness. Social isolation and withdrawal is one symptom of depression, and this compulsion to avoid friends and family can make it easy for people with depression to hide their symptoms. Others may not realize that what they are feeling is an illness that can be treated.
A lack of healthcare also poses a significant barrier to treatment. Studies have also found that for many patients, not only has a lack of insurance coverage has been an issue for them in the past, the lack of trained professionals who can help them with depression is also a factor. Harmful societal attitudes that believe depression is a sign of personal weakness or a display of laziness doesn’t help patients, either. For residents of Southern California, there are several treatment options they can use to find relief from depression symptoms.
What options for depression treatment, if any, are particular to Southern California?
In 2004, California’s governor enacted a tax to help fund mental healthcare in the state. This tax produced a windfall of funds for residents who needed depression assistance in Southern California. Unfortunately, the mental health system remained fractured and disorganized. In recent years, California’s government attempted to fix this crisis with laws that have met with some controversy, including court-ordered treatment programs such as Laura’s Law. Depression rates have continued to rise, and to meet the demand for increased mental health services, Many of California’s colleges and universities have responded by expanding their mental health services programs. Since the passage of the ACA, insurance companies are required to cover mental health services. California’s state initiative, Let’s Get Healthy California, is a program designed to help historically unserved, underserved, and inappropriately served communities access mental healthcare.
Who is eligible to receive services under Let’s Get Healthy California?
This initiative is geared toward serving California adult and adolescent residents from these demographic groups:
- African Americans
- Native Americans
- Pacific Islanders
- LGBTQ Individuals
Southern California has the largest number of mental health care and substance use disorder facilities per capita in the U.S. Adults and adolescents who are not eligible for assistance through Let’s Get Healthy California and individuals who are eligible can access a variety of different treatment models and reach out for help from other support services. The differences between some of these most common depression assistance services will be explained below.
Psychologists are mental health professionals with clinical and classroom experience for treating mental health disorders. Psychologists cannot diagnose mental health conditions or prescribe medications. What a psychologist does is study the mind, how it operates, and how it influences a person’s behavior. People with depression can benefit from working with a psychologist in numerous ways. They will focus on talk therapy techniques to treat patients with depression and offer behavioral interventions that aim to alleviate emotional and mental suffering.
Why would someone see a psychologist?
Cases of mild, moderate, and severe depression can benefit from the work of a psychologist. Psychologists help people with depression figure out their triggers for symptoms, and how to avoid those triggers in the future.
How long do patients work with a psychologist?
The timeline for working one-on-one with a psychologist will vary significantly for each patient. Some patients benefit from shorter, goal-focused psychological work, while others will need ongoing talk therapy throughout their lifetimes.
How much time does it take for psychological treatment to start working?
On average, it takes about 15 to 20 sessions for half of all patients to see a reduction in symptoms.
What credentials does a psychologist have?
Most doctoral programs for psychology majors require at least a bachelor’s degree plus significant coursework to enter the program. Some may even require students to have a masters degree in psychology before they can get a doctorate and start practicing.
Who can benefit from seeing a psychologist and what can psychologists treat?
Anyone with emotional issues, interpersonal problems, or mental health disorder symptoms can benefit from working with a psychologist. Psychologists can have a range of experience treating certain disorders, and some psychologists will even specialize in a particular field.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has both clinical and classroom experience with mental health disorders, how to diagnose them, and how to treat them with medications. Psychiatrists typically do not offer talk therapy or behavioral interventions. Instead, their job is to help stabilize the patient with pharmaceutical methods and monitor how the patient responds to depression medication. A psychiatrist can switch a patient’s medication, or increase or decrease the dosage. Psychiatrists are also crucial for keeping patients safe from potentially dangerous drug interactions if the patient needs to take prescriptions for other physical or mental health disorders.
Why would someone see a psychiatrist?
People who need to take prescription medications for mental health disorders will need to see a psychiatrist.
How long will patients need the services of a psychiatrist?
Patients will need to occasionally see a psychiatrist while taking medications for mental health disorders.
What credentials does a psychiatrist have?
Psychiatrists must complete medical school to earn an M.D. or a D.O. degree.
How long does it typically take for medications for depression to start working?
Most antidepressants take several weeks to start working.
In severe cases of depression, some patients may be a danger to either themselves or others. Depression is the leading cause of suicide in the U.S., and a portion of people with depression disorder will develop psychotic symptoms, increasing their risk of either harming themselves or other people. In these cases, a person with depression may need to be hospitalized for a period so doctors can get a chance to stabilize them and keep them safe.
Patients can voluntarily enter a psychiatric ward, and in severe cases, loved ones, or law enforcement may need to have patients involuntarily committed. This is rare, but it can happen when patients are unstable. The goal of either voluntary or involuntary hospitalization is to stabilize the patient and then transition them to outpatient treatment. Most who are committed to a hospital psychiatric unit will stay for a few days to a few weeks before transitioning to less structured care models.
Why would someone need to be hospitalized for depression?
If a patient is a danger to themselves or others, hospitalization is usually required.
How long do patients stay in the hospital for depression?
Most patients will stay in the hospital for depression for several days to a few weeks until the patient is stabilized.
Who are depression hospitalization programs for?
Depressed patients who are actively suicidal, or who have psychotic depression often need to be hospitalized until medications start working and they become stable.
Holistic treatment for depression looks at how patients can make certain changes to their lifestyle and diet as a way to alleviate symptoms and prevent relapse. Patients may be encouraged to change their diet, begin exercising, and continue with scheduled and regular talk therapy treatments. A holistic treatment model is geared toward treating all aspects of the patient’s life so they can find relief from symptoms.
Why would someone want to use holistic treatments for depression?
Depression affects every part of a person’s life, and many patients can benefit from preventing specific triggers for depression symptoms. Holistic treatment methods can address these triggers, such as lack of sleep, stress, and being around negative or toxic people.
How long will people use holistic treatments?
Holistic treatments are usually lifestyle choices, and a lot of the methods used in holistic treatment techniques encourage lifelong changes in depression patients.
How much time can it for holistic treatments to begin working?
Every depression patient is different. But eliminating certain triggers with holistic treatment methods can relieve some symptoms within a few weeks if patients are also attending talk therapy or taking medications.
Who can benefit from holistic treatment methods?
Anyone with depression can benefit from using holistic treatment methods.
What can holistic treatment methods treat?
Holistic treatment methods focus on changing certain lifestyle behaviors and habits to eliminate depression triggers and bring symptom relief. For example, holistic treatments might focus on helping patients develop better sleep habits and bedtime routines. Sleep issues often accompany depression.
In the U.S., Eastern medicine such as acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, Ayurveda, reflexology, Yoga, and massage therapy are considered alternative treatment methods for depression. Some patients with mild cases of depression may benefit from a combination of alternative treatments, holistic treatment, and talk therapy without needing medications. But every case of depression is different.
Why would someone use alternative treatments?
Some mental health disorder patients with mild to moderate depression may not want to use medications or may not respond favorably to medications. Alternative treatments may offer some relief.
How long can someone use alternative treatments?
Alternative treatment methods come with minimal side effects and can be used long-term.
What credentials does an alternative treatment practitioner need?
In the U.S., alternative treatments are not regulated or recognized by the FDA. It’s important that patients research an acupuncture or massage therapy practitioner to make sure they are trained and reputable before undergoing these types of treatments.
How long can it take for alternative treatments to start working?
Alternative treatments such as acupuncture and herbal remedies can take several weeks of regular use before patients may see an improvement in their symptoms.
Healthy relationships are critical to mental health and well-being. For people with depression, joining a support group specifically for depression survivors can help them feel less alone in their struggles. Support groups are not meant to take the place of crucial talk therapy or medication, but they can give patients a safe, encouraging place to share their struggles and their triumphs with depression treatments. Depression is an isolating disease, but going to a support group can give patients access to people with the same diagnosis, and enable them to make friends with people who’ve experienced similar issues.
Why would someone want to join a support group?
Support groups offer depression patients a chance to connect with people in similar situations.
How long do support groups last?
Support groups typically hold sessions for about an hour a week.
How long can someone stay in a support group?
There is no time limit on how long someone can use a support group.
What credentials does someone need to have to lead a support group?
There are no regulations regarding who can lead a support group for depression patients. Some will be led by people who have recovered from depression themselves, while other support groups may be directed and organized by nurses, therapists, or other mental health professionals.
What is treated in a support group?
Support groups are not meant to take the place of medication or therapy sessions with a licensed and trained psychologist. Support groups are intended to offer depression patients encouragement and a chance to build relationships with others.
Elderly patients who cannot live independently can get access to mental health professionals in a nursing home setting. Elderly patients respond differently to antidepressant medications than younger patients, and the elderly are typically on several different prescriptions at once. A nursing home gives patients access to a team of psychiatrists and other mental health care workers who are experienced with the unique needs of depressed seniors.
Why would someone go to a nursing home and who are they for?
Nursing homes are available for senior citizens who cannot live independently.
How long do people stay in a nursing home?
Most residents will live in a nursing home for the rest of their lives.
What credentials do nursing homes have?
Nursing homes are heavily regulated by different state and federal requirements and organizations.
For people of faith, joining a religious institution can give depressed patients similar benefits that support groups can. Many churches also offer faith-based support groups for depressed congregants.
Why would someone join a church?
People with religious inclinations and who believe in a higher power may wish to join a religious organization for support and community.
What credentials do churches have?
Most religious institutions require their leaders to attend and complete educational programs for theology and church leadership.
Can churches treat depression?
Churches and religious institutions are not medical facilities and are not meant to replace much-needed medical treatment and intervention.
Around 30% of all depressed patients will not respond to common antidepressant medications. For these individuals, transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, can help. TMS technicians administer magnetic pulses to certain areas of the patient’s brain that are known to trigger depression symptoms. TMS is a non-invasive procedure, and patients can return to work or school on the same day.
Why would someone need TMS?
TMS is designed to alleviate stubborn depression symptoms that do not respond to most antidepressant medications.
How long do TMS treatments last?
A TMS session will last about a half hour to one hour. Most patients will undergo one TMS session a day, Monday through Friday for four to six weeks.
How much time does it take for patients to see results?
Some patients will experience a reduction in symptoms in as little as six sessions. However, most patients will see results after at least two weeks of treatment.
What credentials does a doctor need to have to perform TMS?
Any mental health care worker who has undergone the proper certification and training can perform TMS treatments. But, a licensed doctor must be present when the treatment is performed, even if the doctor is not the one performing it.
Who is TMS for?
TMS is for people with treatment-resistant depression and postpartum depression. TMS can also be used for OCD patients.
How long will it take for depression symptoms to be eliminated?
About 60% of TMS patients will go on to experience a full remission of symptoms after completing a six-week course of treatment.
Are you or someone you love struggling with symptoms of depression? If you’ve tried an antidepressant medication and were not able to find relief from your symptoms, you may be a candidate for TMS. Contact Pulse TMS today to learn more about how safe and effective TMS can help your depression.