Held annually during Mental Illness Awareness Week in October, National Depression Screening Day began as an effort to raise awareness and connect people who may be suffering from depression with resources for education and support.
Why is it important?
Depression can affect almost anyone. All age groups and all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups are at risk.
Depression is a common illness, affecting more than 19 million Americans each year and estimated 350 million people worldwide. True clinical depression differs from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. And when it lasts too long or becomes more than a mild case, depression can become a serious health condition. It can cause the affected person to function poorly at work, at school and within the family. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide.
An organization called Screening for Mental Health started National Depression Screening Day in 1991 and hosts a year-round event locator website where you can find free and confidential screening locations in your local area. You can also take an anonymous screening test.
Why Screen for Depression?
- Clinical depression is a serious medical illness that can lead to suicide.
- Sometimes people with depression don’t realize their symptoms are not a “normal part of life.”
- One in four women and one in 10 men will experience depression at some point during their lifetimes.
- Two-thirds of those suffering from depression don’t seek treatment.
- Depression can co-occur with 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.
Should You Be Screened?
Some people may not realize they are depressed; some may think they are depressed but are really dealing with other issues or illnesses.
Are you experiencing any of the following symptoms?
- Changes in sleep
- Decreased appetite, resulting in noticeable weight loss
- Increased appetite, often resulting in weight gain
- Inability to concentrate or make decisions
- Loss of energy
- Lack of interest in usual activities
- Dwelling on losses or failures
- Feelings of hopelessness or guilt
- Thoughts of suicide
If so, contact your doctor or Horizon Health Services at (716) 831-1800 and make an appointment to discuss these symptoms as soon as possible. We will use our experience and expertise in mental health disorders to help you. We provide a variety of counseling and psychiatry services in Western New York.