If you’re sitting on the fence, deciding whether or not to get help for depression or wondering how to go about finding a good resource, you’re not alone. Many people hesitate to get the emotional support they need.

From my experience, I think that the best thing to do when you decide to find help for depression is to ask your friends or your family (if you feel that is appropriate). When I was first battling a major depressive episode, I opened up to my family. My brother-in-law called his psychiatrist, who gave him several referrals. I was lucky to get help quickly. The faster you get help for depression, the faster you will heal.

Another great place to start is NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health). Simply go to www.NAMI.org to find resources and support. There is also a clickable map to help you find a NAMI affiliate in your local area that can point you to programs and supports located close to your home. If you’d rather speak with someone who has been trained to give suggestions on how to get help, call the NAMI hotline at 800-950-6264.  If they don’t know someone in your area, they know how to get the information you need.

Once you get the phone numbers for psychologists or psychiatrists in your area, make appointments to interview them.  If you feel put off by one of the doctors or if you feel you can’t connect with the person, please find another medical professional.

The more connected you feel with that professional, the better fit and the sooner you can begin to heal.

Don’t use your primary care physician to prescribe an anti-depressant. While they might mean well, they have no idea how to match you to the right medication. Rather, ask your physician for a few names of psychologists or psychiatrists in your area and whether or not he or she has referred other patients successfully.

Or ask any other doctor you see no matter what their specialty may be. You’d be surprised how small the world is in medicine.

Most importantly, get help. You can’t heal until you are cared for.