October 6 is National Depression Screening Day. More than 3,000 sites will be participating in screenings and events.
The following information from Mental Health America offers tips on why screenings are important, who could benefit from a screening and what you can expect from a screening.
Why Screen for Depression?
- Clinical depression is a serious medical illness.
- Clinical depression can lead to suicide.
- Sometimes people with depression mistakenly believe that the symptoms of depression are a “normal part of life.”
- Clinical depression affects men and women of all ages, races and socioeconomic groups.
- One in four women and one in 10 men will experience depression at some point during their lifetimes.
- Two-thirds of those suffering from the illness do not seek the necessary treatment.
- Depression can co-occur and complicate other medical conditions.
- More than 80 percent of all cases of clinical depression can be effectively treated with medication, psychotherapy or a combination of both.
- Screenings are often the first step in getting help.
What Is a Depression Screening like?
Attendees at screening programs, which are free and confidential:
- Receive educational materials on depression and other mental illnesses
- Hear an educational session on depression.
- Complete a written screening test.
- Discuss the results with a mental health professional.
- If necessary, learn where to go for additional help.
Who Should Attend a Depression Screening?
People suffering from depression often experience some of these key symptoms:
- A persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
- Sleeping too little, early morning awakening, or sleeping too much
- Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Restlessness or irritability
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Depression screening tests will not provide a diagnosis – for that you need to see a professional. But, they will help you identify you whether or not you have symptoms that are consistent with a condition or concern that would benefit from further evaluation or treatment.
Finding a screening
Employees and the general public: Check to see if your employer has an EAP – that’s always a good starting point for help. If not, community based organizations nationwide are offering anonymous self-assessments for a variety of concerns that are often misunderstood or misdiagnosed. Take a screening online or choose your location from a clickable map to locate an event near you.
Students: Colleges nationwide are offering anonymous self-assessments for a variety of concerns that are often misunderstood or misdiagnosed. Take a screening online, or choose your location from a clickable map to locate an event at a local campus.
Military and their family members: Take an anonymous screening online or find screenings at local military installations. The screening questions are designed so you can review your situation with regard to some of the more common mental health issues including, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, alcohol problems and more.