National Depression Screening Day

National Depression Screening Day

Whether for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or depression, health screenings provide a quick and easy way to spot the first signs of serious illness and can reach people who might not otherwise seek professional medical advice.

Clinical depression is a common medical illness affecting more than 19 million American adults each year. Like screenings for other illnesses, depression screenings should be a routine part of healthcare.

Screening for Mental Health Inc. (SMH) is the non-profit organization that first introduced the concept of large-scale mental health screenings with its flagship program National Depression Screening Day (NDSD). SMH is dedicated to promoting the improvement of mental health by providing the public with education, screening, and treatment resources. SMH hosts a year-round event locator website that allows the public to find free and confidential screening locations in their local areas.

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.

Clinical depression is a serious medical illness.

National Depression Screening Day is held during Mental Illness Awareness Week each October. It is designed to call attention to the illness of depression on a national level, educate the public about its symptoms and effective treatments, offer individuals the opportunity to be screened for depression, and connect those in need of treatment to the mental health care system.

Starting with only 90 sites in its first year, the Screening Day program has grown to reach more than 85,000 people at 3,000 sites nationwide. To respond to the year-round need, the program also maintains a toll-free, year-round phone line for free, anonymous screening locations in local areas.

To find a free, anonymous screening site in your area or take an online screening go to http://www.mentalhealthscreening.org/events/national-depression-screening-day.aspx

Take an online depression screening.

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

Screenings are not a professional diagnosis. Screenings point out the presence or absence of depressive symptoms and provide a referral for further evaluation if needed. You should see your doctor or a qualified mental health professional if you experience five or more of these symptoms for longer than two weeks or if the symptoms are severe enough to interfere with your daily routine.

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