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What is Depression?

Depression is more than feeling sad or "blue". Depression is an illness that affects a person's mood, thoughts and body. Depression can interfere with daily life. Major depression affects an estimated 25 million American adults in any year, but only one-half of them ever receive treatment. When left untreated, depression harms mental and physical health, quality of life and productivity.

Treatment for depression can make a difference, even if you have severe depression. For some people, talking with a therapist can help them feel better. Others benefit from medication or need a combination of medication and therapy. The first step is to visit a health care provider.

Quality depression care helps you stay healthy and get better, faster. When you know what to look for in depression care, you can feel more confident about treatment choices and decisions for yourself or a family member. MNHealthScores.org has a number of resources to help you find quality care and support for depression.

  • View our Depression Care Reports. See how Minnesota clinics performed in treating adults with major depression and find clinics that perform well in treating depression.  The data are collected from clinics in Minnesota, and a few clinics in North Dakota and Wisconson located close to the border.
    1. How many patients were feeling better at 6 and 12-month time periods after they started treatment (in remission)
    2. How many patients were making progress toward feeling better at 6 and 12-month time periods after they started treatment (responding to treatment)
    3. How many patients completed the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) at least once to see if their symptoms are under control and/or treatments are working (their providers used the PHQ-9)
    4. How many patients with high depression scores completed the PHQ-9 at 6 and 12-month time periods after they started treatment (PHQ-9 Follow-up)
  • Visit our online toolkit for depression called Help and Healing. Help and Healing provides quality information and free, downloadable resources to help you and your health care providers identify, treat and manage depression.
  • Learn from patients and health care providers about managing depression and finding what works. Visit the MN HealthScores’ News and Views section to read these and other stories about managing your health and getting quality care.
  • Build skills for positive partnerships with your health care providers in our Better Care resources section.