October is National Depression Screening Month, Help Spread Awareness of Depression and The Importance of Diagnosis
National Depression Screening Month is underway this October, supporting an ultimate goal of spreading awareness about mental health screenings and other depression prevention methods. By creating awareness around depression and the need for accessible and affordable screening resources, people can find the help they need.
Depression affects nearly 16 million Americans a year, however it’s estimated that fewer than half of those affected seek professional treatment. These staggering statistics reflect a very real need for accessible, affordable mental health screenings, especially given how difficult it can be to correctly diagnose depression.
By providing access and awareness to these mental health screenings, people who otherwise wouldn’t have access, or would potentially go undiagnosed, can find the proper help they need.
Important Dates For This October
The theme of this year’s National Depression & Mental Health Screening Month is “Mental Health and Older Adults, Addressing a Growing Concern.” The topic is particularly important this year, as an estimated 7 million adults over the age of 65 in the United States will experience some form of depression. However, treatment and resources are often tailored to younger individuals, and by targeting a more mature population this year, we can help spread mental health awareness in demographics that go unnoticed.
October 7th is National Depression Screening Day, meant to bring help, awareness, and hope to the 40 million American adults suffering from anxiety and depression.
World Mental Health Day is on October 10th, an observation that over 150 countries have participated in since its founding in 1992. World Mental Health Day seeks to educate, create awareness, and remove the stigma surrounding mental health education.
Recognizing Depression and Its Symptoms
Depression affects people of all ages in different ways, and can be brought on at any time. Depression and its symptoms directly decrease a person’s quality of life, and can also raise healthcare costs, worsen one’s productivity, and increase the risk of death. It’s important to understand what the general symptoms of depression are, to identify key signs as they arrive.
Symptoms of depression include:
- Frequent feeling of sadness, anxiety, or emptiness
- Trouble with falling asleep or oversleeping
- Poor appetite or overeating
- Lack of energy and motivation
- Feelings of guilt, despair, or worthlessness
- Disinterest in activities once enjoyable
- Thoughts or talks of suicide
- Trouble with concentration
- Slowed movement or speech
- Jittery and restless feelings
What is a Depression Screening?
Depression and anxiety screenings are tests often conducted in the form of a questionnaire, performed by a mental health care professional who will ask questions either orally, or on paper/digital device. These depression screening questions are meant to provide the professional with the means to identify signs of depression, or other mental health conditions. No single test exists to diagnose an individual, and sometimes a test alone isn’t enough to determine if someone has depression because it won’t always account for other factors that can influence an individual’s answers.
These screenings are simply a way to indicate depression symptoms that may require further evaluation. While a mental health professional can often provide these questions, tests can also be performed online. Some websites even offer free screening tests that give individuals complete privacy, and can also provide a variety of other, free depression screening tools for adults.
Among the most common screenings is the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Depression symptoms are assessed through nine questions that evaluate certain areas including fatigue, thoughts of suicide, change in appetite, or decreased pleasure in activities. The questionnaire indicates whether an individual has depression symptoms that may require further professional help, and is also available online to take at any time. Other common health screening tests include Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II), Major Depression Inventory (MDI), Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD), and Retreat Behavioral Health’s Depression Screening.
Getting Depression Help With Synergy Health Programs
Synergy Health Programs is among the leaders in comprehensive mental health services. Synergy provides those seeking out depression help with therapeutic programs optimized for each patient’s needs, to manage the symptoms and get professional and targeted treatment. Synergy also offers an array of mental health programs to provide the type of mental health care service that is best suited for an individual. Learn more about our many mental health services, or contact us to schedule an appointment today.