The Mental Health Access Center provides counseling services, and its specialists can help decide if antidepressant medicine is appropriate.
Kaiser Permanente members can call 1-888-287-2680 (206-901-6300) for an appointment, or talk to your primary care doctor.
You do not need a referral from a doctor to contact the Mental Health Access Center. However, it's a good idea to see your doctor first. He or she is familiar with your medical history and can rule out other medical conditions that could be causing your symptoms.
If you do have depression, your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant medicine or refer you for counseling, if that's the best treatment for you. Or you may receive both antidepressants and counseling.
Your doctor will refer you to the Mental Health Access Center if he or she feels that a specialist is needed for your medicine.
When you call the Mental Health Access Center, a patient access representative or trained clinician will ask you a few questions over the phone about how you've been feeling physically and emotionally. Many of these questions are asked even if your doctor referred you.
These questions help determine the level of your depression, including whether you have been feeling at risk of harming yourself. Also, the questions help in matching you with a counselor or other specialist with whom you'll feel comfortable.
The specialists in the Mental Health Access Center can assess your medical condition and whether you should think about taking an antidepressant medicine.