Getting Help from a Depression Hotline

Perhaps you've heard of depression hotlines, but are not sure what they are for. Or maybe you think they are only for people with depression who are in severe crisis, or depressed people who do not have a counselor to go to.

Call - MasterfileWhether you have a support network and just want to talk to someone else, or you feel you're lacking the support you need, calling a depression hotline can help you cope through tough times.

Why Call a Depression Hotline?

Depression hotlines or helplines exist to help people with depression in times when, for whatever reason, they find it difficult to cope with daily life or with a specific crisis. If you're depressed and need someone to talk to, calling a hotline can help you make sense of your problems and give you some perspective when life seems out of control.

Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness are common during depression, leading some people to feel as though their problems aren't important or severe enough that they "deserve" to receive help. Remember that you don't have to be severely depressed or suicidal to call a helpline.

There are some services that are specifically targeted towards suicide prevention, but there are also depression hotlines that are there to help people with mild or moderate as well as severe depression.

What Can You Expect from a Depression Hotline?

Calling a depression hotline may seem scary, especially if it’s the first time you are calling. After all, you're talking to a complete stranger about your problems, and that can feel intimidating. However, people often find that it's actually easier to talk to a stranger—someone removed from your daily interactions. The person you talk to is trained to listen without judging, and to help you cope with depression and crisis.

What won't happen? When you talk to someone at a depression hotline/helpline, it's important to remember that this isn't the same as talking to a psychotherapist or counselor. The person you talk to at a helpline isn't able to give you medical advice or therapy. He or she can give you general advice or tips for coping with depression, but won't tell you what to do. Talking to someone at a depression helpline isn't a replacement for therapy.

When you call a helpline, your call is strictly confidential. The person you talk to won't ask for any identifying details such as your address or even the general area in which you live. You don't have to give your real name, or any name at all. Your information is never given to a third party, and you won't receive any phone calls or other type of contact from the helpline.

Depression Helplines You Can Call

Remember that you don't have to cope with depression alone—there is always help available. Hotline staffers are trained to handled calls like yours and offer your help.

  • U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255If you are having thoughts of suicide, call this number immediately.
  • Kristin Brooks Hope Center Hopeline: 1-800-784-2433 This hotline can help you cope with a range of depressive feelings.
  • Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 (press 1) Responders understand the unique experiences of veterans.
  • United Way Helpline: 1-800-233-4357 They can aid you in locating a therapist, healthcare or basic necessities such as housing and food by directing you to local services.

Written by: Emma Lloyd

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 21 Jul 2011

Last Modified: 11 Mar 2013