Depression and anxiety can make you feel powerless. There are many ways you can take action, though, and gain a greater sense of control over your emotions and your life.

Take questions about depression, anxiety, suicidal feelings, or other mental health concerns to your doctor or a mental health professional. They will assess your situation in the context of your overall health and help you determine the best action to take—whether it’s to consider medication, begin talk therapy, or explore other options.

Open the conversation

Mental health may not be a topic you’ve ever talked about, and it can be a tough one to bring up. If you take that first step, however, your doctor or another health professional can guide the rest of the conversation.

Put your own spin on any of the ideas below to get things started. You can bring up the subject either before or during your next appointment. Be prepared to provide as much detail as you can about how you’ve been feeling.

  • “I’ve done some research about depression, and wonder if I might be at risk.”
  • “I’ve been feeling pretty down lately, and I’d like your opinion on whether it might be depression.”
  • “I haven’t been feeling like myself. Can we talk about that?”
  • “My anxiety level has been really high lately, and it’s making me uncomfortable.”
  • “I think I may have had a panic attack, and it scared me. Can we talk about it?”
  • “I’m interested in beginning therapy to work on some things that have been bothering me. Can you recommend someone?”

Get help

Addressing mental health conditions usually requires some combination of solutions, including:

Talk therapy
Speaking to a mental health professional is a great way to explore root causes and patterns that may be factors in cases of depression or anxiety. There are several types of providers in this category, so you may want to ask your primary doctor for a referral.

MD psychiatrist Psychiatrists have a medical degree in psychiatry and specilize in preventing, diagnosing and treating mental illness. They are authorized to prescribe medications.

PhD psychologist Psychologists have a doctoral degree in psychology and specialize in behaviors and the mind. They provide counseling, pyschotherapy, and psychological testing.

Licensed mental health counselor Licensed mental health counselors have a master’s degree in psychology or counseling. They provide counseling or psychotherapy to evaluate and treat mental health problems.

Clinical social worker Clinical social workers have a master’s degree in social work. They evalute and treat mental illness, and can provide case management and advocacy services for patients and families.

Several prescribed medicines have proved to be very effective in treating depression and anxiety. Your doctor can help determine whether a specific type would be best for you. Be sure to ask about possible side effects and interactions with other medications you are taking. Here are some of the types of drugs most commonly used to treat depression and anxiety:

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) SSRIs make more serotonin available to the brain, which can improve mood. They are typically taken daily.

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) SNRIs increase the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain and are typically taken daily.

Benzodiazepines Benzodiazepines are used for short-term or episodic anxiety management. IMPORTANT: Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you are taking a muscle relaxant or opioid for pain before beginning benzodiazepines, as it is unsafe to mix these medication types.

Healthy habits
When you feel good physically, you’re more likely to feel good emotionally. Visit our Mind Fitness resources for ways to support your emotional well-being with a lifestyle that helps you feel your all-around best.

Find a provider or resource

Find a provider
or resource

When you’re ready to talk to someone, you have lots of options. Maybe you want to begin seeing a mental health professional for therapy. Perhaps you’d rather start by sitting in on a group counseling session. You might just want to learn more about what local advocacy groups are doing in your area. Use the approach that’s best for you.


BCBSAZ network providers.
To find a complete list of healthcare providers affiliated with your network, log in to your MyBlue® online account. If you haven’t already done so, set up your account and choose your network from the drop-down menu. Then, enter the specialty you’re looking for–such as psychiatry, psychology, counselor, etc.

BlueCare Anywhere™
This telehealth service is available with some BCBSAZ health plans. If it’s a benefit with your plan, it’s easy to learn more about it and sign up. If not, there are companies who offer this service for a fee. Search ‘telehealth’ online for a list of companies.


Arizona advocacy groups. Get involved and learn more by connecting with organizations dedicated to the mental health of Arizonans.

Mental Health America of Arizona

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Arizona

Support groups for individuals and families.

Connect with other Arizonans who are living with or around mental illness to share coping strategies and success stories. Lists of free support groups located throughout the state are available from NAMI Arizona and Mental Health Arizona.

Join the changing conversation

At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, we’re committed to ending the stigma that’s sometimes associated with mental illness, because nothing should stand in the way of someone getting help. We believe that all Arizonans deserve not just to feel well, but also to feel proud of advocating for wellness in all its forms.

Here are a few ways you can help shift the tone when it comes to mental health:

  • Use person-centered language, which means focusing on the person and not his or her diagnosis. This helps clarify that the condition is one aspect of but does not define the individual.
    “He/she has bipolar illness” instead of “He/she is bipolar.”
    “I have a mental health condition” instead of “I am mentally ill.”
  • Learn how to dispel stigma through the National Alliance on Mental Illness “stigmafree” campaign.
  • Take mental health first-aid training. Most of us know how to help someone who is having a heart attack. Few of us are prepared to respond to someone who’s having a mental health or substance use-related crisis. Mental health first-aid training, like CPR training for physical health, teaches you how to recognize symptoms and offer assistance. Find a mental health first-aid training course near you.

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