July 01, 2022

Antidepressant medication management: Behavioral health resources for medical providers

You may be caring for a UnitedHealthcare Commercial member who has been prescribed antidepressant medication. We’ll be encouraging these members to keep their scheduled appointments and work with you to create a treatment plan. These members are also encouraged to take their medication as prescribed.  

Behavioral health screening tools and follow-up care

  • Consider using a screening tool
    • The American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommend that patients complete the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-9 screening tool as needed1
    • Note: The PHQ-9 instruction manual only includes medication as a proposed treatment for patients with scores above 10 or in the moderate to severe range
  • When you diagnose your patient with depression, APA and SAMHSA recommend:
    • Encourage them to attend psychotherapy
    • Consider referring patients with complex conditions to a psychiatrist
    • If you prescribe medication:
      • Let them know it can take several months for antidepressant medicine to be effective
      • Remind them to continue their medication for at least 6 months

How to refer to a behavioral health professional 
You can call the number on the patient's health plan ID card if you need to refer them to a behavioral health professional or request coordination of care. You’ll also find local behavioral health professionals at search for providers.

Behavioral health toolkit for medical providers
Go to and log in with your One Healthcare ID. Then select Clinical Resources > Behavioral Health Toolkit for Medical Providers.

Patient education information
Visit and scroll down to find the links to topics.

Call the number on the patient's health plan ID card.

1Chung, H., Pietruszewski, P. Clinical Staff Webinar, National Council Depression Care Collaborative. 2015.
Insurance coverage provided by or through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or its affiliates. Health plan coverage provided by UnitedHealthcare of Arizona, Inc., UHC of California DBA UnitedHealthcare of California, UnitedHealthcare Benefits Plan of California, UnitedHealthcare of Colorado, Inc., UnitedHealthcare of the Mid-Atlantic, Inc., MAMSI Life and Health Insurance Company, UnitedHealthcare of New York, Inc., UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company of New York, UnitedHealthcare of Oklahoma, Inc., UnitedHealthcare of Oregon, Inc., UnitedHealthcare of Pennsylvania, Inc., UnitedHealthcare of Texas, Inc., UnitedHealthcare Benefits of Texas, Inc., UnitedHealthcare of Utah, Inc., UnitedHealthcare of Washington, Inc., Optimum Choice, Inc., Oxford Health Insurance, Inc., Oxford Health Plans (N.J.), Inc., Oxford Health Plans (C.T.), Inc., All Savers Insurance Company or other affiliates. Administrative services provided by OptumHealth Care Solutions, LLC, OptumRx, Oxford Health Plans LLC, United HealthCare Services, Inc. or other affiliates. Behavioral health products provided by U.S. Behavioral Health Plan, California (USBHPC) or its affiliates.