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355 million people are affected by depression, making it one of the most common disorders in the world. At McLean Hospital, we are committed to providing support for individuals with depression through world-class treatment, innovative research into causes and cures, and robust education for patients and families, clinicians, and the broader community.
Find out more about depression, including treatment programs at McLean, definitions, and helpful resources.
McLean Hospital offers comprehensive mental health services to help children and adults living with mood disorders such as depression. We utilize evidence-based treatment and therapy models informed by cutting-edge research conducted at McLean and around the world. By incorporating various approaches, treatment can be customized for each individual to help ensure recovery.
Depression care incorporates individual, group, and family therapy, behavioral therapies, diagnostic assessment, consultation services, tailored treatment plans, and medication evaluation and management. McLean is committed to providing robust patient and family education and support including informational materials, support groups, and assistance with community resources.
Our inpatient programs offer a safe and secure environment for patients in need of immediate acute care, while our residential, day, and outpatient programs focus on providing skills for patients to manage their illnesses on their own.
For more information on treatment options, please call 877.646.5272.
The Pavilion is the premier destination for adults requiring comprehensive psychiatric consultation, assessment, and treatment. With the goal of clarifying diagnosis and offering effective treatment recommendations, our intensive two-week self-pay program is designed to provide unparalleled diagnostic evaluation with an emphasis on evidence-based care, discretion, flexibility, and confidentiality.
McLean Hospital understands that police, active military, and other first responders endure unique on-duty and personal stresses, and also face many obstacles in seeking help. The LEADER (Law Enforcement, Active Duty, Emergency Responder) program is offers specialized mental health and addiction services, designed specifically for men and women in uniform. Residential and outpatient options are available.
Behavioral Health Partial Hospital Program
This day program helps individuals to develop skills that improve their mood and ability to function in hopes of allowing them to better cope with life circumstances. To achieve this mission, the BHP utilizes cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) approaches (including dialectical behavior therapy skills) for a wide range of conditions such as mood and anxiety disorders, depression, personality disorders, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorders. BHP is useful as a step-down transition from acute inpatient care or as an alternative to inpatient treatment.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Service
McLean’s ECT Service is dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals with a broad range of mental health conditions. ECT is a highly effective conventional intervention for chronic depression, mania, catatonia, and schizophrenia. Our outpatient service is ideal for people 16 and older who have not responded to medication or other forms of treatment.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Service
This outpatient treatment program uses magnetic stimulation to help control mood in adults with major depression. TMS is particularly helpful for people with depression who have not experienced significant relief from antidepressant medications or have difficulty with side effects.
The Ketamine Service at McLean Hospital offers specialized treatment for adults struggling with depression, especially major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. At McLean, ketamine is used to help depressed individuals who have not responded to at least two courses of medications most often prescribed for depression. Ketamine may also be used to treat individuals who are experiencing acute suicidal thoughts or behaviors and urgently require a fast-acting intervention.
McLean SouthEast Adult Psychiatric Partial Hospital Program
The McLean SouthEast Adult Psychiatric Partial Hospital Program treats individuals ages 18 and older struggling with depression and anxiety disorders, with or without other coexisting mental health conditions. Our structured day program focuses on group therapies and skill building and is located in at McLean SouthEast in Middleborough, Massachusetts.
The Lincoln Residence provides a supportive and therapeutic setting for adults 18 and over who would benefit from additional support while transitioning to independent living. Whether receiving care at our Belmont campus or at outpatient treatment programs elsewhere in the community, we offer the expertise of our program clinicians, who specialize in treating a wide range of mental health conditions, including co-occurring psychiatric disorders.
3East: Adolescent DBT Programs
McLean’s adolescent dialectical behavior therapy programs, collectively known as 3East, provide specialized care for teens and young adults who require treatment for depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and emerging borderline personality disorder. The programs in the 3East continuum are specifically designed to accommodate patients in different phases of the treatment and recovery process, from highly focused residential treatment to outpatient care. We have intensive treatment tracks for both boys and girls, and our day program (partial hospital) and outpatient program are coed.
McLean-Franciscan Child and Adolescent Inpatient Program
The McLean-Franciscan Child and Adolescent Inpatient Program is a place for hope and healing for children in psychiatric crisis. Intensive psychiatric stabilization is available for children and adolescents ages 3 to 19. Located in Brighton, Massachusetts, we offer expert assessment and inpatient mental health treatment in a safe and nurturing environment. The goal of the program is for each child and adolescent to successfully return to his or her home, school, and community.
Adolescent Acute Residential Treatment (ART) Program
The Adolescent Acute Residential Treatment (ART) Program provides intensive, short-term, and highly focused psychiatric care for teens and young adults through age 19 with emotional and behavioral difficulties. With a length of stay between 10 and 14 days, this insurance-based residential program focuses on stabilizing adolescents in acute crisis.
Belmont Adolescent Partial Hospital Program
The Belmont Adolescent Partial Hospital Program offers structured day program care for teens and young adults ages 12-19 with an array of mental health challenges. This intensive, insurance-based program focuses on stabilizing adolescents and teaches effective ways of coping with life stressors.
Child and Adolescent Outpatient Services
At McLean Hospital, we recognize the challenges children and adolescents with mental health conditions face. Through our Child and Adolescent Outpatient Services, located on the campus of Sancta Maria Nursing Facility in Cambridge, we are focused on helping young people and their families cope with mental illness. Our outpatient care includes individual and group therapy focused on an array of mental health diagnoses.
Why should you choose McLean for your mental health care? Let us show you.
Find more information on depression care and treatment at McLean:
Depression is a serious mental health disorder that affects the whole body including mood and thoughts. It touches every part of one’s life. It is important to know that depression is not a weakness or character flaw—it is a chemical imbalance in the brain that needs to be treated. If you have one episode of depression, you are at risk of having more throughout life. Without treatment, depression can happen more often and become more serious. Scientists believe that depression doesn’t have a singular cause, but may be brought on by a traumatic event, changes in life circumstances, genetics, changes in the brain, or alcohol or drug addiction.
Anyone can feel sad or depressed at times. However, depression is more intense and harder to manage than normal feelings of sadness. A person may have different symptoms of depression including:
Left untreated, depression can be a debilitating illness for individuals and their families. Often, symptoms are not recognized for their severity and can worsen, and severe depression may lead to suicidal thoughts and actions. Common treatments for depression include individual and group therapy, and medications as appropriate. Other treatments may include TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) and ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), both of which have been found to have profound effects on individuals with depression, especially for those who have not found relief in symptoms through other treatment methods.
Many factors contribute to depression, and it is likely caused by an imbalance of brain chemicals. Life events (such as stressful life changes) may also contribute to a depressed mood. Depression also tends to run in families. The exact biological cause of depression is still being investigated, including by scientists at McLean like Diego A. Pizzagalli, PhD.
Suicidal behavior is defined as a preoccupation or act that is focused on causing one’s own death voluntarily. Suicidal ideation refers to thoughts of suicide or wanting to take one’s own life. Suicidal behavior refers to actions taken by one who is considering or preparing to cause his or her own death. Suicide attempt usually refers to an act focused on causing one’s own death that is unsuccessful in causing death. Suicide refers to having intentionally caused one’s own death. Talking about suicide is the best way to prevent it. Although it is not possible to predict suicide with any certainty, our best tool is recognition of the signs that many people exhibit when contemplating suicide. These three behaviors should prompt you to seek immediate help for you or a loved one: talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself; looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or obtaining a gun; talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live. See the Resources section for actions to take if you or someone you know needs help.
These organizations may be useful to find more information on depression and suicide prevention:
If you or someone you know needs help:
These organizations also offer suicide prevention resources:
McLean Hospital faculty have penned more than 50 books in recent years, including these books about depression.
Neurobiology of PTSD: From Brain to Mind
By Israel Liberzon and Kerry Ressler
(Oxford University Press, 2016)
Biographies of Disease: Depression
by Blaise Aguirre, MD
(Greenwood Publishing Group, 2008)
Looking for information on another mental health condition? Visit one of these pages to find out more.
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