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National Depression Screening Day

National Depression Screening Day (NDSD) is October 5, 2017.
Held annually during Mental Illness Awareness Week in October, NDSD is comprised of awareness events that include an optional screening component.

“Depression is a common condition which has been foreseen to cause much more disease burden to the health sector by 2020 according to research made by World Health Organization (WHO). The day is therefore set aside to create awareness to people on the importance of screening and treatment of the disease at an early stage. The day is also purposed for extending how to deal with stress knowledge to help overcome depression through mental education.” (4)

-Consumer Health Digest Aug 2017

Overview:

Everyone will feel down or sad at some point in their life from events they experience. This could be related to loss of a loved one, a change in job or health issues, or a number of other factors. Depression is considered a mood disorder and can be defined as “a loss of interest or pleasure in nearly all activities”. (1) If this lack of interest or pleasure lasts for more than a few weeks, it may be due to depression.

Depression can occur in anyone throughout life. Depression does occur in about 7.6 percent of the American population. Depression was more prevalent among females than males and among adults aged 40–59 than those of other age groups. Rates of any depressive symptoms were lower among non-Hispanic white persons than among Hispanic and non-Hispanic black persons. Once poverty was taken into account, however, rates of depression did not differ significantly by race or Hispanic origin. (2)

Signs and Symptoms:

Feeling sad, hopeless. No interest in daily activities or hobbies. Lack energy or feeling restless. Changes in appetite, weight loss or gain. Problems with sleep, waking up at night or excessive sleep. This may be indicators of depression and you should consult your Primary Care Physician.

“Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience only a few symptoms while others may experience many.”(3) This is why consulting your primary care physician (PCP) is important. Your PCP will rule out physical health issues and then work with you to find the best treatment for you if you are experiencing depression.

Treatment:

Depression is treatable. Most cases can be treated with therapy or medication or both. Treatment will depend on the severity of the depression. Most people may find relief in a few weeks or month. Medication is prescribed by a PCP or a Psychiatrist. Therapy is usually provided by a licensed mental health provider. Therapy, for the most part, starts out with the patient being seen every week or two and may last for six months or longer.

References:
(1) American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
(2) CDC/NCHS, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2012.
(3) National Institute of Mental Health
(4) Consumer Health Digest Aug 2017

If you or someone you know may need a mental health assessment, anonymous online tools are available. For National Depression Screening Day on October 5, you can get a free mental health screening at HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org.

Brian Smith, LMHC, works in the Harrington Outpatient Behavioral Health Department at Harrington.  

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