Symptoms of depression can pop up at the most inconvenient times. When your friends are asleep, your therapist is out of the office or your significant other is at work, it can be hard to know where to turn.
Even if you have never considered it, a depression hotline could be a useful resource. Available 24 hours a day, seven days per week, depression helplines are a useful tool for your coping skill toolbox.
When Should You Call a Depression Hotline?
Calling a depression hotline is not an appropriate fit for every situation, so you’ll need to know when and when not to call. Good times to call a depression hotline include:
- When your symptoms are severe
- When your other supports are unavailable
- When you need feedback from an unbiased person
- When your other coping skills don’t seem to be helping
If you are having a mental health crisis, calling a depression hotline could offer the assistance and guidance you need.
What Kinds of Questions Will You Be Asked?
Each call to a depression helpline will differ depending on who answers the phone and what symptoms you experience. One constant will be the questions asked by the person on the other end of the phone, which may include any of the following:
- What’s going on?
- How are you feeling?
- Are you safe?
- Are you thinking about hurting yourself or someone else?
- What do you need?
Some questions may seem odd or unimportant, but the helpline operator needs honest answers to gather information about your situation. Being open and thorough in your answers increases your chances of receiving the most helpful aid possible.
Benefits of Calling a Depression Hotline
One call to a depression hotline could offer several benefits by:
- Giving you an opportunity to talk about your symptoms
- Providing support
- Allowing you to focus on healthy coping skills
- Helping you access resources available in your community
- Making it easier to schedule appointments with mental health professionals
- Evaluating if emergency services are needed
- Sending a crisis team to your house if necessary
Are Depression Hotlines Free?
Another benefit of depression hotlines is that they are free. Most hotlines receive some source of outside funding to provide these services without any cost to you. However, be sure not to confuse depression hotlines with online therapy options that charge a weekly or monthly fee to speak with a professional.
Is My Call Confidential?
Most depression helplines protect your privacy. Helpline operators will not have access to your address or even your name unless you want them to. You will almost always remain anonymous.
The only time a hotline may break your confidentiality is to protect you or someone you know against the threat of suicide or violence. In these situations, the other person may contact law enforcement to maintain safety.
National Depression Hotlines
There are a variety of depression hotline numbers available to anyone across the country who is in need. Examples include:
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) Helpline: 1-800-662-4357
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- Samaritans: 1-877-870-4673
- National Hopeline Network: 1-800-442-4673
- Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255
If you feel more comfortable using a text-based hotline for support, you are in luck. Several options exist so you can chat or text with a depression hotline, such as:
- Crisis Text Line: Text CONNECT to 741741.
- IMALIVE.org: Click the chat now box to be connected to a volunteer.
- Lifeline Crisis Chat: Click the chat now box to speak to a helpline representative.
To contact a depression hotline geared toward young people, consider reaching out to:
- Trevor Project Lifeline: 1-866-488-7386
- Child Help USA Hotline: 1-800-422-4453
- Boys and Girls Town National Hotline: 1-800-448-3000
Depression Hotline Finder
For those interested in setting up face-to-face meetings with a mental health professional, hotlines can help by connecting you to treatment providers in your area. For example, SAMHSA offers a behavioral health treatment services locator with complete listings of facilities and treatment centers across the country. Simply enter your zip code to find available options, then click in the upper right-hand corner to refine your search.
Local Depression Hotlines
National hotlines offer tremendous services, but sometimes you might feel better understood by a depression hotline staffed by locals. Fortunately, all states and many counties have crisis hotlines to assess and address your needs:
Alabama Department of Public Health
North Star Behavioral Health System
Mercy Care Crisis Services
Arkansas Crisis Center
Los Angeles County Suicide Prevention Center
Colorado Crisis Services
United Way of Connecticut
United Way of Florida
211 in multiple counties
Fulton Emergency Mental Health
AMHD Crisis Line
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
United Way of Indiana
Great Rivers 211
Crosswinds Counseling and Wellness
Louisiana Association of United Ways
Maine Department of Health and Human Services
Mental Health Association Call Center
University of Michigan Health System
Minneapolis Hennepin County Medical Center
Mississippi Contact Helpline
Missouri Department of Mental Health
Suicide Prevention Hotline
Center Point Helpline
Nevada Crisis Call Center
New Hampshire HelpLine
Ocean Mental Health Services
NM Suicide Prevention Hotline
Capital District Psychiatric Center Crisis Unit
Mecklenburg County Crisis
FirstLink Crisis Services
Dayton Suicide Prevention Center
Heart Line/ Care Line
National Suicide Prevention Line
Resolve Crisis Services
The Samaritans of Rhode Island
United Way Association of South Carolina
Northeastern Mental Health Center
Tennessee Statewide Crisis Line
Weber Human Services
Clara Martin Center
Wahkiakum County Health and Human
The Crisis Center of Family Services
Wyoming Behavioral Institute
If you still need more help addressing your depression linked to a problem with substance use, consider contacting The Recovery Village to learn about treatment options for co-occurring disorders.
PsychCentral. “Depression Hotline Numbers.” November 6, 2018. Accessed on February 25, 2019. SuicideHotline.com. “Hotlines in Your State.” April 29, 2018. Accessed on February 25, 2019. USA Today. “What Actually Happens When You Call You Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.” September 10, 2018. Accessed on February 25, 2019.
PsychCentral. “Depression Hotline Numbers.” November 6, 2018. Accessed on February 25, 2019.
SuicideHotline.com. “Hotlines in Your State.” April 29, 2018. Accessed on February 25, 2019.
USA Today. “What Actually Happens When You Call You Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.” September 10, 2018. Accessed on February 25, 2019.