How do you get a clinically depressed person to get the help that is needed? We know someone who has sat in a dark room for 2 weeks, lost his job and is in trouble. He is not eating or watching TV. Just sitting there. What can we do?

Answered by: David Kahn

His friends, family, or whoever cares about him and has influence, need to help him get to a doctor's office or, if necessary, to a good psychiatric emergency room. Try TLC first; but if he resists, and assuming he is not a violent person, everyone will have to insist he go for help and be ready to take him. As a preliminary step, you should also check to see if there a psychiatrist or a mental health clinic team that makes home visits in your community.

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David Kahn, M.D.

David A. Kahn, M.D.

Dr. Kahn is the Diane Goldman Kemper Family Clinical Professor of Pyschiatry Emeritus, Columbia University Medical Center; and attending psychiatrist, New York Presbyterian Hospital.

He received his B.A. from Haverford College in 1975, completed medical school and internship in medicine at Columbia, and was resident and chief resident in psychiatry at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. He then received an NIMH extramural research fellowship at the Psychiatric Institute, where he worked in the area of mood disord...
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