Thursday, October 10, is National Depression Screening Day. For over 25 years, hospitals, clinics, schools, and community organizations around the country have used the Thursday of the first full week of October as a time to educate patients about depression and provide screenings to individuals for a range of behavioral and mental health disorders.
National Depression Screening Day is an opportunity for everyone, regardless of their medical history, to make their own mental health a priority—by making an appointment with a medical professional or by taking a self-evaluation for depression and other mood disorders. It’s also a chance to check in with family and friends who have struggled with depression and make sure they feel supported.
History of National Depression Screening Day
The organization Screening for Mental Health launched National Depression Screening Day in 1990 as an initiative of Mental Illness Awareness Week. The goal of the day is to promote mental health education and share resources with people across the country who may have undiagnosed cases of depression or who may feel like they don’t know how to get support.
Depression is relatively common in the United States—according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, about 6.7% of adults in the country are depressed—yet many people feel that a diagnosis of depression will stigmatize them as crazy or abnormal. Major depressive disorder still often goes untreated because of that stigma and because people around them aren’t able to identify the symptoms.
National Depression Screening Day offers a chance to have honest conversations about depression, its effects, and what patients can do to treat it. By providing information and raising awareness on National Depression Screening Day, we can all reduce stigma and assist those around us with getting the help they need.
Identifying Symptoms of Depression on National Depression Screening Day
It’s not always easy to identify depression, especially since some of the symptoms could also be related to other stressors like work, personal relationships, or something else going on in one’s everyday life. It is normal to feel sad from time to time, but it is important to recognize when these feelings become too much to handle, don’t go away with time, or get in the way of day-to-day activities. National Depression Screening Day is a good moment to reflect on whether you or those around you are affected by symptoms of depression.
Some symptoms of depression to look out for include:
- Feelings of helplessness, worthlessness, and pessimism
- Sleeping too much or sleeping too little
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Loss of interest in things one usually enjoys
- Physical side effects including aches, cramps, or digestive problems
- Suicidal thoughts
The National Alliance on Mental Illness also provides tips on identifying symptoms of depression in yourself and others.
Get a Mental Health Evaluation on National Depression Screening Day
If you feel that you may have depression or have suffered from some of the symptoms above, National Depression Screening Day is a great opportunity to make an appointment with a medical professional or learn more about resources that exist for those suffering from depression.
Find a Local Mental Healthcare Provider
Some clinics, hospitals, schools, and community organizations around the country are providing free mental health screenings and hosting other awareness-building events for National Depression Screening Day. Check with local universities, clinics, and healthcare nonprofits to see if there are any happenings near you.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, offers a useful online treatment locator for people searching for a mental healthcare provider. The tool allows users to search by location for mental health and substance abuse treatment centers nearby. The listings also include contact information, details on the services provided, and information about what types of payment are accepted.
Or call SAMHSA’s confidential, 24/7 helpline, which provides referrals to local facilities and offers additional information and resources. The SAMHSA National Helpline can be reached by telephone at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or by TTY at 1-800-487-4889.
Take a Depression Screening Online
If you don’t feel ready to see a doctor or other qualified medical professional, you can take an anonymous self-assessment online on National Depression Screening Day.
MindWise Innovations offers a free depression screening online for those who are feeling sad, down, or empty. If you’re not sure if this evaluation is right for you, you can also take a wide-range mental health screen that is a great way to check in with yourself and articulate how you’re feeling. MindWise also offers online specific screens about anxiety, substance abuse, and disordered eating, among other topics.
Make an Appointment at Mid City TMS on National Depression Screening Day
If you’re interested in learning more about treatment for depression, make an appointment with Dr. Bryan Bruno at Mid City TMS in New York. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is an extremely effective procedure for depression. TMS uses magnetic pulses to activate areas of the brain with low activity as a remedy for depression.
The expert team at Mid City TMS provides individualized care at a convenient location in Midtown Manhattan. Contact Mid City TMS today to make an appointment.