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Depression is a common mental health condition that affects a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It ranges in seriousness from mild, temporary episodes to severe, persistent depression.

What’s the difference between feeling down and having a form of depression?

Feeling a bit down now and then happens to most of, especially when things don’t go the way we want. It’s temporary and often gets better after a few days or weeks.

Symptoms of feeling down may include feeling:

  • Sad
  • Anxious or panicky
  • More tired than usual or being unable to sleep
  • Angry or frustrated
  • Loss of interest in things previously enjoyed

The key difference between depression and feeling down is how long it lasts, how intense the feelings are, and how it impacts daily life. Major depression, also known as clinical depression, is the more severe form of depression.

If you experience some of the following symptoms most of the day for at least two weeks, you may have depression:1

  • Feeling sad or anxious often or all the time
  • Not wanting to do activities that used to be fun
  • Feeling irritated, frustrated, or restless
  • Having sleep issues
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Physical aches, pains, headaches, or stomach problems that do not get better with treatment
  • Having trouble concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
  • Feeling tired or sluggish
  • Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
  • Thinking about suicide or hurting yourself

What are risk factors for depression?

Depression can stem from a variety of factors including genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological. Everyone is different, but these factors may increase your risk of experiencing depression:1

Are certain people more likely to be affected by depression?

Anyone can get depressed — all ages, races, ethnicities, and genders. However, there are certain groups who experience higher rates of mental health conditions.2 People who belong to minority groups or who have a chronic illness often face different challenges around mental illness than their non-minority counterparts. Learn more about how health equity impacts mental health.  

I think I am depressed. What should I do?

You are not alone. Know it’s okay to not feel okay. In fact, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that an estimated 21 million adults in the U.S. had a least one major depressive episode in 2021.3

If you think you might be dealing with depression, here’s what you can do:

  1. Talk to someone. Reach out to a person you trust, like a friend or family member. Sharing your feelings can be the first step to getting help.
  2. See a doctor. Make an appointment with your primary care doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other provider who specializes in mental health. They can talk with you, figure out what’s going on, and create a treatment plan.
    • Don’t feel like talking? If you find it hard to talk about your feelings, try writing them down. You can bring your notes to your doctor or send them through a secure patient portal.
  3. Try treatment. Treatment might include taking medicine, talking to a therapist, or a mix of both. Your doctor can help determine what treatment is best for you. You should gradually start to feel better after starting treatment. Let your doctor or therapist know if you don’t think the treatment is working.
  4. Take care of yourself. Increasing your quality of sleep, connecting with others, and avoiding alcohol and drugs can help your mood and mind.4 

How do I help somebody close to me who is experiencing these symptoms?

It can be difficult to know how to help someone who may be experiencing depression. You can’t fix someone’s depression, but here are some ways you can support them.5

  • Educate yourself. Learn about depression to understand its symptoms and effects better.
  • Be willing to listen. Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings, but don’t make any judgments.
  • Stay connected. Keep in regular contact with them to show your ongoing support. Continue to invite them to get together, even if they decline.
  • Encourage them to seek help. Talk about what you’ve noticed and why you’re concerned. Explain that depression is a health condition.
  • Suggest professional help. Help them find a health care provider. If someone is in treatment, help them remember to take prescriptions and keep appointments.
  • Watch for warning signs. Be aware of any signs of self-harm or suicidal thoughts and know how to take action.


How do I cope with the stigma surrounding mental health?

Unfortunately, negative and misguided beliefs toward people who have a mental health condition are common. When confronted by these stigmas, it can be easy to judge yourself, resist treatment, or try to figure out your feelings on your own.6

The good news is that there are ways you can combat the stigma around mental health.

  • Get the treatment you need
  • Don’t let stigma create self-doubt and shame
  • Don’t isolate yourself
  • Connect with others or join a support group
  • Speak out against stigma

Remember: It’s not personal. Another person’s judgments often come from a lack of understanding. They make assumptions about mental health before they get to know you, so don’t believe that their views have anything to do with you personally.

What should I do in an emergency?

Call 911 if you or someone you know is in life-threatening danger or having a mental health crisis.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, call or text the National Suicide Lifeline at 988. Counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They will listen to you, offer support, and find available resources to help.

What resources does Florida Blue offer to help support my mental well-being?

  • Visit or call one of our Florida Blue Centers and talk with one of our community specialists. They can help connect you to resources in your area and answer any questions you have. To find the nearest Florida Blue Center, call 1.877.352.5830. Florida Blue Centers are available to anyone, whether you’re a Florida Blue member or not.
  • Florida Blue members can call our behavioral health care partner, Lucet, at 1.866.287.9569. They can help you locate a licensed therapist that’s right for you. They may also be able to schedule your in-person or virtual visit with a therapist.
  • meQuilibrium is an online mental well-being program designed to help members face each day with confidence. It is available at no extra cost with most health plans. Look for meQuilibrium in the Find & Get Care section of your member account.
  • If you’re eligible for our care programs, reach out to your care manager for more information on mental health care. With the BlueForMe app, you can do it through your smart device.

988 is the call number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, an independent company offering mental health counselling via phone call or text.
Florida Blue contracts with Lucet to provide behavioral health services.

meQuilibrium is an independent company contracted by Florida Blue to provide health and wellness services and resources to members. This benefit is available to Florida Blue members age 18 and older. Eligibility is limited to members with an individual or family plan, an individual or family ACA plan and members with coverage from their fully insured group employer health plan.

Florida Blue has entered an arrangement with Wellframe to provide members with care decision support services, information, and other services. All decisions that require or pertain to independent professional medical/clinical judgement or training, or the need for medical services, are solely the member’s responsibility and the responsibility of their physicians and other health care providers. Wellframe is an independent company that provides online services to Florida Blue members through the BlueforMe app.


1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mental Health Conditions: Depression and Anxiety.

2 Blue Cross Blue Shield. Uniting to Advance Behavioral Health Equity.

3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data on Depression.

4 Mayo Clinic. Sadness and Depression.

5 Mayo Clinic. Depression: Supporting a family member or friend.

6 Mayo Clinic. Mental health: Overcoming the stigma of mental illness.


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