Depression Resources

Depression is neither entirely biochemical nor entirely environmental. Rather, it is most likely a complex mix of the two. Researchers know that depression has a strong genetic component, with the disease often turning up throughout families and over generations. Scientists have even identified some genetic mutations related to depression.

But experts stress that simply having a genetic predisposition doesn't mean you'll become depressed, or that if you don't have the genetic mutation, you'll never become depressed. That's where the environment comes in. The stresses within a person's environment and how the person is able to manage them are a major determinant of depression, experts say.

Online Organizations

  • American Psychiatric Association - 703-907-7300 - Provides a variety of resources for consumers on mental disorders.

  • Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance - 800-826-3632 - Provides resources for people with mood disorders and their families, including online chat rooms and a newsletter.

  • National Alliance for the Mentally Ill - 703-524-7600 - A support and advocacy organization of consumers, families and friends of people with severe mental illness. Local affiliates provide guidance in finding treatment.

  • National Foundation for Depressive Illness - 800-239-1265 - Informs the public about depressive illness and promotes programs of research, education and treatment.

  • National Institute of Mental Health - 866-615-6464 - The leading federal institution studying depression and mood disorders. Its Genetics of Recurrent Early-Onset Depression (GenRED) study is recruiting people with depression who also have had a family member with the disease. For more information, email the national coordinating center at Stanford University,, or call 877-407-9529. (All emails and calls are confidential.)


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