Learn about depression

Photo of man staring out the window

If you or a loved one suffer from depression, you are not alone. As many as one in five individuals experience clinical depression during their lifetime.

What is depression?

Depression is one of the most common health conditions in the US and globally, affecting individuals of all ages and backgrounds.

More than 14 million American adults—nearly 7% of Americans--experience clinical depression each year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Depression also has an impact on many others, including family, friends, and coworkers.

Because it interferes with many critical areas of functioning, including mood, behavior, and thinking, depression is the fourth leading cause of disability in the US and the leading cause of disability for individuals between the ages of 15 and 44 years.

Options, help, and hope

Thousands of individuals with depression have found reliable information and expert evaluation and treatment through the MGH Depression Clinical and Research Program. Some had never been treated for depression before. Others believed they had exhausted all options.

Depression is increasingly treatable. Most people with depression get better with treatment, even those with severe depression or whose depression has lasted for years.

There is more hope today than ever before for people with depression. Advances in depression treatment offer many new options, such as:

  • Medical treatments that are more effective with fewer side-effects and greater safety
  • Innovative types of psychotherapy (counseling or “talk therapy") that help people manage stress and cope with challenges
  • Alternative, natural, or other novel approaches that do not require medication
  • Newer forms of neurostimulation, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, that modulate neural activity that is altered by depression