The first line of contact for depressed individuals is their general practitioner, who will be able to interpret the symptoms of depression correctly and gauge the severity of the psychological problem. Any subsequent psychological treatment or therapy will target the reasons for the depression, paving the way for recovery.
Depression is not just all in the mind; it's an illness that should be treated by a professional as soon as possible. The first step towards getting successful treatment is to talk to someone who is professionally qualified to deal with it:
- A family doctor, who can diagnose and treat depression and refer you to a specialist, psychologist or specialised institution;
- A psychiatrist (a doctor trained in psychiatry), who can have medical tests carried out, prescribe medication and provide psychotherapy;
- A psychotherapist, who can provide psychotherapy but not prescribe medication.
A psychotherapist has a university education in medicine or psychology and has received further training in psychotherapy. The services of psychotherapists who are not doctors are covered by a basic insurance policy only if they are prescribed by a doctor and provided under medical supervision (delegated psychotherapy). The psychotherapist must be employed by the delegating doctor or hospital. If non-medical psychotherapists are self-employed, the TOP and COMPLETA supplementary insurance policies will cover some of the costs. Therapists must be recognised by Helsana and belong to one of the three professional associations FSP, SPV or SBAP. Before starting therapy, it is your right to ask what kind of training your psychotherapist has had and whether he or she is self-employed or employed by a doctor or hospital.
You will find more information on where to get advice and help in our brochure on depression "Depression kann jede und jeden treffen (PDF, 1MB) ".
Mentally ill people tell their stories
Mental disorders are some of the most common illnesses in Switzerland. According to the Swiss Health Observatory, some 17 percent of the population suffers from one or more mental disorders. Four sufferers talk about their illness, how they cope with it and what is helping them to recover. They hope that their stories will encourage others.