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National Depression Screening Day to be held Thursday

Jenny Decker RN's picture

The National Depression Screening Day is to be held Thursday, October 8th in recognition of Mental Health Awareness week. Community organizations, primary care providers, some public health departments, colleges, and military installations will be offering free, anonymous depression screenings, writes PsychCentral.

A study completed last year found that depression screenings reinforce the need to seek help. Over half of those who have depression as a possibility will seek out treatment for depression. The study was conducted by Robert Aseltine, PhD, professor of behavioral sciences and community health and director of the Institute for Public Health Research at the University of Connecticut Health Center. He stated that those who took the online depression screening between October and December 2008 for the 2008 National Depression Screening Day, half of those sought treatment within three months of the screening. Dr. Douglas G. Jacobs, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School commented on the study, “it reinforces the effectiveness of anonymous, web-based screening programs in connecting an individual at risk for depression with treatment resources.”

There are two types of symptoms of depression, according to WebMD. These include emotional and physical symptoms. The emotional symptoms include:

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o Feeling sad or empty, and hopeless or numb
o Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy (such as hobbies, etc.)
o Irritability or anxiety
o Trouble making decisions
o Feeling guilty or worthless
o Thoughts of suicide or death

The physical symptoms must be evaluated by a medical doctor in order to rule out any physical cause. It is important to note that many of these symptoms are missed by both the patient and the doctor. When a person has depression, there is a chemical imbalance in the brain that makes the perception of pain different and often times makes the sensation of pain worse. Treatment of depression often alleviates these symptoms, or at least helps. These symptoms include:

o Headaches
o Back pain
o Muscle aches and joint pain
o Chest pain (please have your doctor rule out any heart problems first)
o Digestive problems
o Exhaustion and fatigue
o Sleeping problems
o Change in appetite or weight
o Dizziness and/or lightheadedness

The National Depression Screening Day is a very important opportunity to get a free screening, whether in your community or online. When depression is caught early, experts agree that individuals will seek out treatment. Treatment includes counseling and medication therapy. The good news is that many people can be treated effectively, they do not need to suffer.

To find out where the depression screenings are taking place, or to take an online screening, go to the National Mental Health Screening Day website at MentalHealthScreening.org.