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Depression Guide

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Depression is more than just feeling down or having a bad day. When a sad mood lasts for a long time and interferes with normal, everyday functioning, you may be depressed. It’s important to know that depression is not a personal weakness or character flaw. Treatment is often needed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling sad or anxious often or all the time
  • Not wanting to do activities that used to be fun
  • Feeling irritable‚ easily frustrated‚ or restless
  • Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Waking up too early or sleeping too much
  • Eating more or less than usual or having no appetite
  • Experiencing aches, pains, headaches, or stomach problems that do not improve with treatment
  • Having trouble concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
  • Feeling tired‚ even after sleeping well
  • Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
  • Thinking about suicide or hurting yourself

If you think you are depressed‚ talk with your doctor or a mental health professional immediately. This is especially important if your symptoms are getting worse or affecting your daily activities.

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People with depression often lose the motivation to take care of themselves. During treatment, make a point to:

  • Exercise: It’s a great way to take care of your body. Studies show that exercise helps fight depression. If you have an injury or special needs, talk with your healthcare provider about safe ways to exercise.
  • Stay away from drugs and alcohol: These may ease the pain in the short term. But they’ll only make your problems worse in the long run.
  • Get support from your family and friends: Don’t shut out your loved ones. Although it can be very hard, tell family members and friends what they can do to help you. Keeping in contact with loved ones can also make a big difference. 
  • Get relief from stress: Ask your healthcare provider about relaxation exercises and techniques to help ease stress.
  • Eat right: A balanced and healthy diet helps keep your body healthy.
  • Stay involved in activities you enjoy: With depression, you may not feel like going out. You may not have the energy or interest to do things you used to like to do. But being active and involved can help you beat depression. Instead of sitting at home, try to get out and do something you enjoy.

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Though millions of people have depression, no one else is just like you. You and your healthcare provider will need to work together to find the treatment that’s best for you. Antidepressant medicine and counseling are two common treatments. The best treatment often includes both.

  • Antidepressants help ease symptoms: It may take a few weeks for an antidepressant to start working. If it doesn’t seem to be working, it may need more time. Or you may need to try more than one medicine or dosage. Your doctor will help find what works for you. Take your pills every day as prescribed. Tell your healthcare provider how your medicine makes you feel. They can adjust as needed. Never change your dosage or stop taking your pills without talking with your provider first.
  • Talk therapy (counseling): This treatment is a powerful way to better understand your thoughts and feelings. Talking with a trained professional can make problems less overwhelming. It can help you work through issues in your life and your relationships. Therapy for depression is often done one-on-one. It may also be done in a group setting. Talk with your healthcare provider about your options so you can choose the best one for you.

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Your Behavioral Health benefits include:

  • Assessment Services: Standard assessment of mental health needs and progress.
  • Behavioral Health Day Services/Day Treatment: Day treatment and adult day care services.
  • Behavioral Health Medical Services (Medication Management, Drug Screening): Services include evaluation of the need for medication; clinical effectiveness and side effects of medication; medication education; and prescribing, dispensing, and administering of psychiatric medications.
  • Behavioral Health Psychosocial Rehabilitation: Services to help people re-enter everyday life (cooking, managing money and performing household chores).
  • Computerized Cognitive Behavioral Analysis: Including health focused clinical interview, behavioral observations, and health and behavioral interviews for individual, group and family (with or without the patient).
  • Equine Therapy: Provided to members with behavioral health conditions and involves activities with horses.
  • Medication Assisted Treatment Services: Services used to help people who are struggling with drug addiction.
  • Therapeutic Behavioral On-Site Services: Therapy services, behavior management, and therapeutic support are coordinated through individualized treatment teams to help members with complex needs from requiring placement in a more intensive, restrictive behavioral health setting.
  • Art Therapy: Provided to members with behavioral health conditions in an outpatient setting. Must be delivered by a behavioral health clinician with art therapy certification.
  • Therapy (individual or family): One-on-one individual mental health therapy.
  • Therapy (group): Mental health therapy in a group setting.
  • Pet Therapy: Provided to members with behavioral health conditions and involves activities with trained animals.
  • Massage Therapy: Massage of the soft body tissues to help injuries and reduce pain.
  • Non-Emergency Transportation Services: Transportation to and from all your medical appointments. This could be on the bus, a van that can transport people with disabilities, a taxi, or other kinds of vehicles.
  • Free Standing Psychiatric Inpatient:  Short-term alternative to inpatient psychiatric hospitalization and provides brief intensive services for patients presenting in acute crisis.
  • Crisis Stabilization Unit Services (CSU): Emergency mental health services that are performed in a facility that is not a regular hospital.
  • Detoxification or Addiction Receiving Facility: Emergency substance abuse services that are performed in a facility that is not a regular hospital.
  • Mobile Crisis Assessment and Intervention: Emergency mental health services provided in the home, community, or school by a team of health care professionals.
  • Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): Structured mental health treatment services provided in a hospital four-six hours each day for five days per week.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): Intensive outpatient treatment for alcohol or drug services and behavioral health treatment or services.
  • Ambulatory Detoxification Services: Services without extended onsite monitoring provides clinical and medical management of physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms (from alcohol and other drugs) on an outpatient basis in a community setting.
  • Peer Support Services: Services to help people who are in recovery from an addiction or mental illness.
  • Drop-In Center Services: A social club offering peer support and a flexible schedule of activities.
  • Infant Mental Health Pre and Post Testing Services: Testing services by a mental health Services professional with special training in infants and young children.
  • Community Based Wraparound Services: Individualized care planning and care management service to support children with complex needs who are at risk of placement in a mental health treatment facility.
  • Short Term Residential Treatment: Short term residential treatment program for pregnant women with substance use disorder.
  • Multi-Systemic Therapy: Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) is an evidenced based practice of intensive treatment for troubled youth delivered in multiple settings. This program aims to promote pro-social behavior and reduce criminal activity, mental health symptomology, out-of-home placements, and illicit substance use.


Earn cash rewards through Sunshine Health My Health Pays programs:

  • Substance Use Health Coaching: Ages 12 years and up. Complete three coaching sessions with a Care Manager in three months. Enrollment in Case Management and signed consent form are required. Earn $10.
  • Post Behavioral Health Admission Follow up Visit: Earn rewards for attending an outpatient follow up appointment with a behavioral health provider within seven days after discharge from an inpatient facility. Earn $20.

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  • 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline - it’s like 911, but it’s 988. Dial 988 for confidential, free, 24/7/365 support from a trained counselor for mental health, substance use or suicidal crisis. You can also text 988 for support (English only).
  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. Call 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357).
  • NAMI HelpLine is available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern. Connect by phone at 1-800-950-6264 or text "Helpline" to 62640, or chat.
  • Sunshine Health’s Behavioral Health Crisis Line. Call 1-866-796-0530 (TTY 1-800-955-8770). We are here 24/7, including weekends and holidays. Resources available on our crisis line include coping with behavioral health crisis, how to help a friend and information on suicide prevention helplines.
  • The Trevor Project (hotline for LGBT youth): 1-866-488-7386
  • Chat is available 24/7:
  • Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860. Hotline for transgender people (volunteers and staff are transgender, as well.)
  • Crisis Text Line: 741-741. Trained crisis counselor replies within minutes.
  • Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, press 1.
  • National Crisis Text Line for the Deaf: Text HAND to 839863
  • Sunshine Health Community Resource Database: Find more free resources through Sunshine Health’s Community Resource Database. Enter your ZIP code to search for help with food, shelter, healthcare, money, school, jobs and more.

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Contact Member Services or your Care Manager to learn about several programs, including:

  • HAPPY: 24/7 emotional support to address loneliness and social isolation
  • Hazel Health: School-based telehealth program to improve access to both behavioral and medical care in schools
  • Choose Tomorrow: Suicide Prevention Program
  • METS: Members Empowered to Succeed, support recovery and resiliency
  • Wellframe: Platform that offers educational programs suited to the member’s needs.

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Contact Sunshine Health Member Services at 1-866-796-0530 (TTY 1-800-955-8770) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern.