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HealthInfo Aoraki South Canterbury

Getting help with depression

Whai āwhina mō pāpōuri

If self-care techniques and lifestyle changes have not helped you feel better, there are lots of other options for treatment. Start by talking to your general practice team 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 works 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.

Talking 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, counsellor or the MHBIS can provide talking therapy and emotional support.

Your general practice team 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. Some therapy options will cost, but your general practice team can talk through the approximate cost with you.



Your general practice team 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 Healthify He Puna Wairoa'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 contact support groups.

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On the next page: Supporting someone with depression

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed May 2023.

See also:

Medications for mental health issues

Page reference: 743046

Review key: HIDEP-48681