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National Depression Screening Day is October 10

Carrie Steckl earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology with a Minor in Gerontology from Indiana University – Bloomington in 2001. She has spent over ...Read More

I wrote about this last year, and I’ll continue to do so as long as there are people in this world who suffer from depression. It’s too important to look the other way or to pretend like we have the depression epidemic under control.

That’s why I strongly encourage you to participate in National Depression Screening Day on October 10, 2013. On this day, community mental health clinics, military bases, colleges and universities, and healthcare organizations around the country will provide educational information about the warning signs of depression. They’ll also offer confidential, anonymous depression screenings by qualified mental health professionals. People whose screenings indicate they might be depressed will be referred to appropriate services and resources in their communities.

If you don’t feel you need to be screened for depression, I’ll bet you know someone who does. That’s because in the United States, depression is thought to affect nearly 3 million men and a much larger proportion of women (up to 40% of women between the ages of 18 and 45 years, according to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill).

Here are a couple of other facts about depression and its widespread effect on society (from the facts page of the official website for National Depression Screening Day):

  • One out of four young adults will experience a major depressive episode before they reach 24 years.
  • By the year 2020, major depression is predicted to be the leading cause of disability, defined as lost years of productivity, among women and children in the world.
  • Caucasian Americans are more likely to be diagnosed and receive treatment for depression than are African Americans, even though the disorder is thought to occur at similar rates in these two racial/ethnic groups.
  • Ten to fifteen percent of depressive disorders are caused by other medical conditions, such as a thyroid disorder or alcohol abuse.

So if you know someone who you think may be depressed, encourage them to get screened. And if you feel down, I encourage you to be proactive and get screened yourself. Find a depression screening location near you.

You can also take an anonymous screening online by visiting Help Yourself, Help Others.

One more thought. National Depression Screening Day is a major undertaking, and many of these organizations rely on volunteers to help make it happen. Why not volunteer to help out at a screening location near you? It would be a fantastic way to show your support for the cause and to help eradicate the stigma that is still all-too-common in our society regarding people who suffer from mental health challenges. Thank you in advance for making a difference.

Keep Reading By Author Carrie Steckl, Ph.D.
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