National Depression Screening Day

By Ann Marie Coar
Staff Writer

National Depression Screening Day will take place on Thursday, October 9 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Psychological Services Center in the McGowan Building. According to Assistant Director of Marywood’s Counseling/Student Development Center Ms. Barbara Decker, the written screening will test for depression, generalized anxiety, bi-polar, and post-traumatic stress disorders.

Those whose screenings suggest they may be suffering from one of these disorders are then referred to either Marywood’s Psychological Services and Counseling Centers or another service in the community.

Screenings are free, confidential, and anonymous.  Everyone at Marywood and in the community is welcome to participate.

“It’s a safe, comfortable way for people to get screened,” said Ms. Decker.  “It’s a route for people to get help.”

Educational literature on topics such as depression, stress, and generalized anxiety disorder will be available.  Videos will also be shown throughout the day.

At last year’s National Depression Screening Day, 160 people were screened and 31 referrals were made.

According to the American College Health Association, depression is a serious medical condition that disrupts daily functioning and normal life.  Symptoms of depression include continuous feelings of sadness or anxiety, fatigue, loss of appetite or overeating, difficulty concentrating or remembering, feelings of helplessness and pessimism, insomnia, loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, continual aches or pains, and thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts.  Not everyone suffering from depression will experience all of these symptoms.

The National Institute of Mental Health cites that a mixture of genetic, psychological, biochemical, and environmental factors can cause depression.  Traumatic and difficult situations like divorce, death of a loved one, or the end of a relationship can also lead to depressive symptoms. The part of the brain controlling mood, thought, appetite, sleep, and behavior seems to work differently in those with depression.  Some neurotransmitters also appear to not be in balance.

The American College Health Association states that it is important for those dealing with depression to seek help.  Depression can be treated.  If left untreated, this medical condition can become worse and affect many other aspects of your life.  Your grades may suffer, and other health problems, such as ulcers and substance abuse, may develop.

According to the University of Michigan, many factors, including the pressures of college and their age, can make college students especially vulnerable to depression.  Dr. John Greden, executive director of the University of Michigan Depression Center, says that the onset of depression often occurs between the ages of 15 and 19.  He estimates that as many as 15 percent of college students may exhibit symptoms of depression.  Also, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, women are at higher risk to suffer from depression.

Dr. Greden states that the person with the depression is frequently the last person to realize what is happening.  A friend or roommate might notice a change and suggest that the depressed individual seek assistance.

Participating in National Depression Screening Day at Marywood is one way for people to find out more information about mental health disorders and to help those suffering from one of these conditions.