Depression hotlines offer free and confidential access to qualified professionals and volunteers for those in immediate need of support.

Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions. The World Health Organization estimates that 264 million people worldwide are living with depression.

Many people with depression isolate themselves from those they love and others who may want to help. Isolation can make symptoms seem worse.

A depression crisis can be scary and overwhelming, not only for the individual but also for loved ones who often don’t know what to do or what to say. In those moments, it’s hard to know where to start.

A hotline can help.

It’s estimated that in 2018, more than 2 million people called the National Lifeline for help. Many crisis centers report a 30-40% increase in calls due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s a look at hotline numbers you can call for help.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 (TALK)

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline offers free and confidential support to those in immediate emotional distress. The hotline provides suicide prevention resources as well as access to local crisis centers.

You don’t have to be actively thinking about suicide to use this service — anyone in emotional distress can call and use their services.

Lifeline Chat is an online chat that provides a direct connection to counselors for support.

For hearing impaired services, call 800-273-8255 or use the chat services.

SAMHSA: 800-662-4357 (HELP)

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) highlights behavioral health impacts, like substance use and mental health conditions, in communities across the country. SAMHSA provides a confidential connection to substance use treatment facilities and behavioral health treatment service locators to make access to support easier.

You can also visit the online treatment locator to find treatment near you.

SAMHSA also offers hearing impaired services at 800-487-4889.

Samaritans: 877-870-4673 (HOPE) (call or text)

Samaritans offers immediate emotional support for those in distress. If you’re thinking about suicide or have lost someone to suicide, the volunteers at Samaritans can help.

They also offer an online chat service through Lifeline Chat.

Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741741

The Crisis Text Line offers help for any crisis. A counselor receives your text and responds immediately from a privately secure platform.

If you live in the United Kingdom, text 85258. In Ireland, you can text 50808.

Friendship Line: 800-971-0016

As the only hotline targeted toward people 60 years old and older and adults with disabilities, the Institute on Aging’s Friendship Line offers emotional support and suicide intervention.

The Friendship Line is also there to simply listen.

Trained volunteers help older adults experiencing depression symptoms and loneliness and offer grief support.

If you live in the California area, Friendship Line can even respond to abuse reports of older people and provide well-being checks.

Veterans Crisis Line: 800-273-8255 (press 1) or Text 838255

Trained professionals from the Department of Veterans Affairs provide free and confidential support services to veterans in crisis. Support is available to all veterans, service members, and National Guard and Reserve.

Friends and family of veterans are also able to get emotional support and resources through the hotline’s crisis responders.

A crisis chat is also available day or night.

Online hotlines

Online hotlines provide quick and easy, around-the-clock access to mental health professionals and trained volunteers ready to engage, support, and guide individuals in crisis.

Some of the most helpful include:

Youth hotlines

Because of their unique needs and situations, youths experiencing depression and distress often require specialized support and care to resolve crises.

Mental health counselors and volunteers provide not only crisis support but also offer abuse and self-harm resources. For a youth-specific hotline, try one of the following:

Many people turn to depression hotlines because they don’t feel comfortable talking with others about their feelings. They may feel as if friends and family won’t understand or even overreact to what they say.

A depression crisis can be scary. Talking with someone immediately can often help. A 2019 systematic review found that crisis line services can help in the short-term and for immediate assistance.

Some reasons people call hotlines:

  • Talk with someone who will listen and understand what they’re going through.
  • Learn more about what they’re going through and the type of help available.
  • Get confidential and anonymous help.
  • Learn how to help a loved one who is experiencing depression.
  • Find a counselor or therapist.

The immediate access to counselors and trained volunteers can bridge the gap between a crisis and treatment by a mental health professional.

Remember: When you call a crisis hotline, the call is confidential and private. There’s no judgment, and no one will think less of you for what you say.

You don’t have to be depressed to call a hotline, either. If you’re concerned about someone you love who may be going through a depression crisis, a hotline is a great place to learn more about how you can help.

Depending on the hotline, you may be greeted by an automated message that will then reroute you to a center nearest you. You’ll likely be placed on a brief hold until someone can answer your call.

Once you’re connected, a crisis line worker will actively listen to you and not judge you for anything you say. Responders will spend as much time with you as you need.

Crisis hotlines are staffed by individuals who have been trained to handle crises. Some hotlines have volunteers with minimal training, while others may have skilled, trained counselors in your area who will answer your call.

Responders may ask questions to get more information about your situation. They may also tell you about mental health services in your area where you can receive further help.

Each call and situation is different, so there is no script to follow, just compassionate and emphatic listeners who will help you and guide you to more resources.

Hotlines are open 24 hours, 365 days a year. They are there to answer your calls, day or night.

Depression symptoms can take many forms and look different for each person. There is more to depression than feeling sad or “down.”

Here are some articles that offer more information about depression:

Living with depression can seem overwhelming at times. A crisis hotline can provide the support you need and help you to engage and diffuse a situation you’re facing right at that moment.

The trained counselors and volunteers of crisis and depression hotlines offer emotional support and help to guide you. Responders can connect you with the resources you need to help you find treatment and counseling near you.

If you’re in a crisis now, consider reaching out to a depression hotline. They’re always there, no matter the day or time.