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Depression Care Providers

The best fit for treating depression

When you are treated for depression, you may interact with more than one health care professional. They work together to ensure you get the best care.


A psychiatrist has a medical degree (MD) and extra training in the study of mental health conditions. Psychiatrists can:

  • Assess your symptoms to make a diagnosis
  • Look at the need for medication
  • Prescribe and monitor medication
  • Provide psychotherapy


A psychologist has a master’s degree (MS) or doctorate (PhD /PsyD) in psychology. Psychologists are not medical doctors, so they usually do not prescribe medication. They can:

  • Assess your symptoms to make a diagnosis
  • Provide talk therapy (counseling)
  • Refer you to a psychiatrist for medication 
  • Conduct psychological testing

Licensed counselors, therapists and social workers

These professionals have a master’s degree (MS) or other graduate-level certification. This includes an internship and one or more years of supervised practice. They can:

  • Assess your symptoms to make a diagnosis
  • Provide talk therapy (counseling)
  • Offer a specialized counseling focus, as in family therapy

Psychiatric nurse practitioners

A psychiatric nurse is a registered nurse (RN) with additional graduate-level education in mental health. They can:

  • Assess psychiatric conditions
  • Prescribe and monitor medication
  • Follow up with medication management and coordination of care

Primary care doctors

For many people, their family doctor is the first stop in getting connected with the right care. Your doctor can:

  • Connect you with a behavioral health provider (therapist, counselor, psychiatrist, etc.)
  • Prescribe and monitor medication
  • Follow up with you over time

Find a health care professional who accepts your plan

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