While some people experiencing depression are aware of their symptoms, others are so accustomed to feeling lethargic, antisocial, or generally unhappy that they don’t realize they are depressed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9.5% of American adults have what is classified as a depressive disorder, with diagnoses more prevalent among women.
Depression can be triggered by something specific, such as the loss of a loved one or a relationship breakup, but sometimes there is no identifiable cause. Symptoms or effects of depression may include hopeless or negative thoughts, insomnia, worry or anxiety, body aches, and intimacy issues.
Extensive research has been done on different types of depression, possible links to suicidal ideation, coping methods, treatment, and more. Depression can have ripple effects far beyond the person living with it, so researchers have also studied its influence on the families and work environments of those with depression.
In addition to resources in the form of testimonials or forums for those with depression symptoms, there is an abundance of information online that can help loved ones of those experiencing depression. As with our previous top 10 lists (ADHD websites and grief and loss websites), we selected the 10 best depression resources on the web for 2012—GoodTherapy.org excluded—to help people better understand and cope with depression. Among the criteria we used to select our top 10 websites are quality and depth of content, presentation, and functionality.
- Families for Depression Awareness: Families for Depression Awareness (FFDA) is a comprehensive resource for families coping with depressive issues. A nationwide nonprofit organization that strives to inform the general public about the signs and symptoms of depression, FFDA also offers much-needed support to depressed individuals and their families. In addition to news, interviews with experts, and training webinars, FFDA offers a “depression wellness analyzer” feature, “mental health family tree” tool, and a “depression and bipolar test.”
- Depression Forums: A rich online community for individuals struggling with all aspects of depression, the Depression Forums bring more than 73,000 members together. Topics range from recovery and coping to therapy and medication. Depression Forums also offers space for members to post personal blogs and review depression-related news.
- The Depression Center: The Depression Center is an advanced online community that offers visitors a program for managing and understanding their depression. Upon registration, users can connect with others through an online support group, create goals and tasks for their individual plans, and access downloadable workbooks and educational materials. In addition, The Depression Center offers a forum for asking an expert questions as well as a web-based depression and anxiety test.
- International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression: The International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting the stigma that often surrounds depression. Citing the fact depression is 90% treatable, iFred focuses on increasing the number of people getting treatment while reducing the negative attitudes associated with depression. Online support groups and a local resource directory supplement the comprehensive information available. iFred accepts donations to advance depression research and fund education initiatives.
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) strives to empower individuals struggling with depression and bipolar, and offers a wealth of resources, including downloadable educational materials and self-help tools. In addition, DBSA provides an informative guide to finding the right treatment, and offers a support group locator with online and in-person chapters across the United States.
- All About Depression: After its beginnings as a doctoral dissertation by founder and clinical depression expert Dr. Prentiss Price-Evans, All About Depression has evolved into a publicly available depression resource. All About Depression provides news and research as well as information about causes, types, and treatment options. Site visitors can access self-help tools, online workshops, and exercises to help manage stress, depression, and anxiety.
- Help for Depression: Founded and run by Healthline.com, Help for Depression offers a multifaceted approach to managing and coping with depression, and examines the various ways it can be treated. Help for Depression provides information on not only psychotherapy and medication, but also alternative methods and lifestyle changes that depressed individuals may find helpful.
- Depression Understood: Depression Understood was designed to provide peer support to individuals with depression. Two active, main chat rooms provide a space for people to connect and share their stories. Individuals can also post on forums and access depression-related blogs. Depression Understood also offers a database of global emergency contacts as well as academic articles and news on depression and related issues.
- Depression Marathon: Depression Marathon is an inspirational personal blog that details the everyday struggles surrounding major depression. The author, a health professional and runner, has been blogging about her experiences since 2008 and has earned many “best of” blog awards. Topics range from sobriety to medication and put an easily relatable, personal face on depression.
- Fighting the Darkness: My Secret Battle with Depression: Fighting the Darkness is a personal blog maintained by Jamie Leggatt, a mother and wife who was diagnosed with clinical depression at the age of 17. Determined to fight the stigma frequently associated with depression, Leggatt details daily life with depression from a down-to-earth perspective. Fighting the Darkness has a large community following, and accepts guest posts on various topics as well as other personal stories.
Don’t see your favorite depression-related website? Nominate it here.
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