Have You Been Screened for Depression?

Depression and free mental health screening offered for National Depression Screening Day

(RxWiki News) Everyone has their good and bad days. But when the bad days are significantly outnumbering the good ones, how do you know if it might be depression? You seek help to find out.

Since October 11 is National Depression Screening Day, it's the perfect opportunity to be screened for depression.

Over 1,000 counseling centers, health clinics and websites will offer free and anonymous assessments for all sort of mental health conditions.

"Don't be afraid to talk about your mental health."

Among the many conditions that websites will screen for on Thursday are depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder.

Parents will also have the opportunity to take short surveys about their teenagers to see if their children might be experiencing a mental health concern.

You can find a list of all the screening locations at www.HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org.

"Depression is one of the most common medical illnesses," said Jesse Wright, MD, PhD, director of the University of Louisville Depression Center. "It strikes over one fifth of Americans, but only 20 percent of these people receive the treatment they need."

Dr. Wright said awareness is key to reaching more people with depression.

"To close this gap, we need to do a much better job of helping people recognize that they have depression and understand that treatment works," said Dr. Wright, author of "Breaking Free from Depression: Pathways to Wellnes."

"National Depression Screening Day is a great opportunity to learn more about depression. The screening test only takes a few minutes and could open doors to overcoming depression and achieving wellness," he said.

But isn't having depression or anxiety a weakness? This is a common concern among people seeking help for the first time, but it simply is not true.

Depression, anxiety, PTSD and other mental health conditions are as much a medical condition as the flu or heart disease — and they can be just as debilitating. They also affect your loved ones.

The good news is that the stigma of mental health conditions has been decreasing and continues to go down.

A public opinion poll was conducted by Screening for Mental Health, Inc., and their findings were released this month.

The nonprofit group's poll found that people are more willing to seek help for mental health and less likely to judge others for doing so.

The telephone poll involved 1,021 American adults surveyed in September about their perceptions and knowledge regarding mental health.

Over half the respondents personally knew someone who had been treated for depression, and those who knew someone with depression were more likely to seek help themselves if they had symptoms.

Overall, 72 percent of the respondents said they would be willing to talk to a doctor or nurse or other health care practitioner if they thought they might have symptoms of depression.

The poll also revealed that people are optimistic about the outcomes of treatment for depression. A total of 67 percent of those surveyed said they believe depression can be successfully treated most of the time.

And proof that the stigma of judging others is vanishing? A total of 65 percent of those responding to the survey said that it wouldn't affect their vote if they found out a presidential candidate had been treated for depression. This response was true of Democrats and Republicans.

If most people are willing to accept depression in the highest office in the land, it's safe to say you are not likely to be judged by most people for seeking help for yourself.

Review Date: 
October 9, 2012