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Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Screening

The CAGE-AID questionnaire is a simple test that checks for signs of alcohol dependence. It can be a useful tool that only requires a minute or two of time.

Mental Health Screening Tools

Self-care matters, especially for your mental health. If you’re feeling down, overwhelmed, or hopeless, it’s important to understand if you are dealing with anxiety and what to do about it.

Behavioral Health Conditions

Our behavioral health section provides a number of services and programs to help those in need.



Depression can severely disrupt daily life and affect how a person thinks, feels, and acts. Someone with depression generally experiences feelings of sadness and loss of interest in activities they usually enjoy. Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions and is also highly treatable. Most people diagnosed with depression get better with treatment through psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. Learn more about the different types of depression.

Major Depressive Disorder

When someone refers to depression, they usually mean major depressive disorder (MDD). Symptoms last for at least two consecutive weeks and may include sad mood, low energy, loss of interest or pleasure in activities they used to enjoy, appetite changes, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, and thoughts of suicide or death. Major depression affects approximately 7% of all adults and typically develops in early adulthood.

Between 5-19% of people with major depression will also have psychotic symptoms, including hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that aren’t there) or delusions (strongly believing things that aren’t real). This is called major depression with psychotic features, sometimes referred to as psychotic depression. It is an especially serious form of depression and often requires hospitalization for treatment. 

Persistent Depressive Disorder

Persistent depressive disorder, also called dysthymia, is a chronic depression that is less severe than major depression but still causes distress and disruption to someone’s life. In addition to feeling depressed more often than not for at least two years (one year in children), a person with persistent depressive disorder will also experience two or more of the following symptoms: eating too much or too little, sleeping too much or too little, low energy, low self-esteem, difficulty concentrating, and feelings of hopelessness.

Persistent depressive disorder symptoms linger for long periods of time. As a result, people who have this condition sometimes feel like this is “normal” for them or part of their personality. With treatment, however, people with persistent depressive disorder can reduce their symptoms and feel better.

Perinatal Depression (Also Called Postpartum Depression)

When a woman experiences a major depressive episode during pregnancy or within four weeks of giving birth, she has major depressive disorder with perinatal onset, often referred to as perinatal depression or postpartum depression. Symptoms are the same as major depression, including sad mood, sleep problems, fatigue, appetite disturbance, loss of enjoyment of activities.

Perinatal depression is different and more serious than the typical “baby blues.” Many women have the “baby blues” after the birth of their child and experience irritability, crying spells, frustration, anxiety, and mood fluctuation. These symptoms usually resolve within one or two weeks. If symptoms continue or worsen, begin to disrupt daily life, or affect your interest in or ability to care for your baby, you should speak to a doctor right away.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Approximately 10 million Americans experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and women are four times more likely to be diagnosed with SAD than men. SAD, a type of depression, recurs during the fall and winter months as the days grow shorter. The effects of SAD can be worse during the stressful holiday season or when isolated or apart from loved ones.

Two components comprise SAD:

  1.  Seasonality – SAD symptoms tend to recur with the transition into winter when less sunlight reaches our eyes each day.
  2. Affect – Typically SAD symptoms are the same as other major depressive disorder symptoms such as sad mood, loss of interest in activities, and sleeping or eating too much.

Seasonal affective disorder is more severe and distressing than the common “winter blues” and should be evaluated by a doctor. Like other forms of depression, SAD is treatable.

Depression Management Program

The depression management program strives to improve the quality of life for members with depression. The program connects you with a specialized care manager who provides education, helps identify and overcome barriers to care, links you to providers when needed, and supports the treatment plan laid out by your healthcare provider.

Who would benefit from this program? Members who:

  • Have recently been diagnosed with depression or have recently been prescribed an antidepressant medicine
  • Have recently been hospitalized related to depression
  • Have depression along with other medical conditions
  • Want to connect with a behavioral health provider but need help navigating the system or need additional support

Medication Management

When starting a new antidepressant, you must take it as directed for at least four to six weeks for it to take full effect. Even if you are feeling better, you should continue to take your medication to prevent symptoms from returning. You should only stop taking your antidepressant if your doctor directs you to do so. When you stop taking your antidepressant too quickly, it can cause serious side effects and your symptoms may return.

If you find that your medication isn’t effective, you should discuss alternative medications with your doctor. Research shows that symptoms often improve with a different antidepressant even if there was little to no improvement with the first type of antidepressant.

Evidence-based psychotherapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), has been shown to be as effective as medication for long-term treatment of many depressive disorders, and should always be considered as a primary treatment for depression, with or without medication therapy.


Let's Talk Stigma
Many people suffer from a mental health diagnosis in silence because of the discrimination that goes along with it. Let's Talk Stigma is starting a conversation to end the stigma surrounding mental illness


Blue Cross Blue Shield Depression Management Program

At Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York, we're here to help support you or a loved one who has depression. Enroll in our depression management program today to work with one of our highly trained care managers. Help is only a click or a call away. Contact a case manager at 1-877-878-8785, option 2, or enroll below.