If you are thinking of suicide, call a suicide hotline right away

  • San Mateo County Crisis Hotline: 650-579-0350
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)

It’s normal to feel sad, down, or blue sometimes. It’s a normal response to challenges, struggles, problems and loss. If your symptoms are intense and/or last for more than two weeks, it could be a sign that you are depressed. Treatment can help you feel better, and it is covered by HPSM. Click on the links below to learn more.

Symptoms of depression

These are some symptoms of depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). People with depression can have some or all these symptoms.

  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Hopelessness
  • Irritability
  • Guilt
  • Loss of interest in usual pleasures
  • Tiredness
  • Restlessness
  • Trouble focusing
  • Poor sleep
  • Change in appetite
  • Suicidal thoughts

Types of depression

The type of depression depends on the severity, frequency and timespan of the symptoms. Only a doctor or trained counselor can diagnose depression. Click on the items below to learn about the types of depression.

  • Bipolar disorder A mood disorder that alternates between clinical depression and strong feelings of hyperactivity and high mood.
  • Chronic depression A long-term depressed mood, lasting two or more years.
  • Major depression A depression that lasts for at least two weeks.
  • Postpartum depression A major depression some new mothers get, usually within a month after giving birth. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, sometimes endangering the child.
  • Psychotic depression A depression that includes delusional thoughts or a break from reality. Hallucinations and delusions are experienced.
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) A depression that occurs with the change in seasons. It often starts in fall or winter and ends in early spring or summer. It is linked to the amount of daylight. (Depression may get worse when days get shorter and nights get longer.)
  • Substance-induced mood disorder A depression that occurs when a person is taking a “downer” medication, intoxicated by a drug or withdrawing from a drug.

How to find out if you need help

Talk to your primary care provider about how you are feeling. They may have recommendations to help you feel better. For mental health or substance abuse treatment referrals, call the Behavioral Health Recovery Services (BHRS) ACCESS Call Center at 1-800-686-0101.

You can also take a free, online depression assessment now

Mental Health America’s 10-question depression screening tool is confidential. It only takes a couple of minutes to fill out. Then, right away, you will get a score ranging from zero (least depressed) to 27 (most depressed). While this is not a diagnosis, your score may help you know how bad your symptoms are and if you need help urgently. Mental Health America’s website also has many useful self-help tips for dealing with depression and other mental health issues.

Start the assessment

Depression and suicide 

Depression can make people think about hurting or even killing themselves. If you or someone you know has a suicide plan, or makes a suicidal gesture or attempt, that is an emergency, and they need help right away. Either call 9-1-1 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to speak with a counselor. En español: 1-800-799-4889.

Suicide warning signs include:

  • Thoughts or talk of death or suicide
  • Thoughts or talk of harming self or others
  • Aggressive actions 
  • Impulsiveness
  • Past suicide attempts

Find out how to get mental health care, learn about common mental health issues and find self-help resources