National Depression Screening Day is Oct. 8
Of all the top causes of disability worldwide, you may be surprised to learn that depression is among these high on the list. It’s responsible for suffering like many significant chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Depression is quite common, affecting 264 million people globally. Women are diagnosed more often than men and rates of depression are increasing most rapidly among the young (ages 12 to 20 years) and across the board during the pandemic. This and other mental illnesses are a reality for millions of Americans.
However, mental illness affects everyone directly or indirectly through family, friends or co-workers. Despite mental illness’ reach and prevalence, stigma, misunderstanding and limited access are also, unfortunately, widespread.
That’s why we’d like to point out some symptoms of depression, and offer simple ways to connect individuals to important mental health information and support services.
Symptoms of depression include sad mood, thinking about suicide, changes in appetite and sleep, feelings of worthlessness, having a hard time concentrating and losing pleasure in activities one typically enjoys. The clinical diagnosis includes symptoms persisting for at least two weeks and causing significant disturbance in life functioning.
Depression can lead to social withdrawal and has a significant impact on the economy through time missed from work and reduced productivity. In the most severe cases, depression results in loss of life through suicide. Close to 800,000 people die of suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among those aged 15 to 29 years.
Great news, though: Depression is a highly treatable condition. With so many people impacted and so much at stake, it is essential to find ways to effectively identify those with depression in order to connect them to one of the many effective treatment options available.
Screening is one tool to increase awareness of depression and direct individuals to help, either with medication, therapy or a combination of the two. Each October in the United States, many organizations participate in a concerted effort to identify individuals with depression through National Depression Screening Day.
This year, that day is Oct. 8 and observed during Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 4-10), while the whole month is National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month. Pioneered in 1990, National Depression Screening Day is an opportunity to connect individuals to important mental health information and support services. Many colleges and other institutions, including the military, offer depression screenings on this day.
Available anytime online, you can complete your own screening through Mental Health America’s screening web site at http://mhascreening.org. There are several different mental health screenings including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and addictions, along with others.
Screenings not only help you think about specific challenges, they can help you define specific issues and help others (e.g. surveys for caregivers, parents and better care for adults).
Locally, Mental Health America of Putnam County has a newly updated website at www.mhaopc.org, a portal to access timely information all dedicated to promoting community-wide mental health.
You can also contact our office through our website, email at email@example.com or call 653-3310 for information about mental health in general, to volunteer and to support or connect with others.