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HealthInfo Canterbury

Getting help with depression

If self-care techniques and lifestyle changes alone haven't helped you feel better, there are lots of other options for treatment. Start by talking to your GP, practice nurse or other health professional about how you're feeling. They can help with treatment ideas and options to best suit you.

Often, a combination of treatments with self-care and lifestyle changes work best.

Online therapy

Consider doing an online course about depression. These courses can help you understand your illness and motivate you with goals. They're useful for everyone, especially if you live in a rural area or if transport is a problem.

Talk therapy (psychological treatments)

Talking therapies help with depression in all age groups. They help you find new ways to think about events in your life and are very effective at treating depression.

A psychologist or counsellor or BIS worker can provide talking therapy and emotional support.

Your GP can help you find a therapist or refer you for some free counselling. You can find a counsellor, therapist or psychiatrist in the Family Services Directory. The Mental Health Education and Resource Centre (MHERC) can also help. Some therapy options will cost, but your GP can talk through the approximate cost with you.



Your GP or psychiatrist may feel that medication could be effective. Medications are a common treatment for depression in adults but aren't usually used to treat children and young people.

There are several types of antidepressants. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine and sertraline are most commonly used. Most people start noticing an improvement two to three weeks after starting medication.

After four to six weeks, your doctor will check if your medication is working and if you're having any unwanted effects. The dose or type of antidepressant can be changed if needed.

It's normal to take antidepressants for a year or longer if you've had depression before.

You can read more about medications on Health Navigator's Antidepressants page. You can find out more about the particular medicines you're taking in Medications for mental health issues.

Specialist therapists

A community support worker can help you with many difficulties you might be having in day-to-day life, like managing household tasks, finances and relationships.

Other health professionals can help with mental health including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dietitians and chiropractors.

Community support groups

MHERC can help you with contacting support groups in your area.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

On the next page: Supporting someone with depression

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by Psychiatrist Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed April 2020. Last updated August 2021.

See also:

Medications for mental health issues

Reading in Mind book scheme

Page reference: 541075

Review key: HIDEP-48681