USAO News Bureau

Free Depression Screenings Offered at USAO Oct. 8

Thursday, October 1, 2009

People everyday receive health screenings for heart disease, diabetes, and other illnesses but rarely do people think of having their mental wellness checked. This can change for residents of Grady County during a free and anonymous depression screening Oct. 8 from noon-6 p.m. in the main lobby of the Student Center at the University of Science and Arts.



Screenings will be offered for depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and post-trumatic stress disorder.

The screenings are a part of National Depression Screening Day held during Mental Illiness Awareness Week each October. It is designed to call attention to the illness of depression on a national level, educate the public about its symptoms and effective treatments, offer individuals the opportunity to be screened for depression and connect those in need of treatment to the mental health care system.

“With the recession and the stress of everyday life, it is common and understandable for people to feel angry, worried and sad -- especially if they lose their jobs or their homes or are stressed about paying the bills,” says Nancy Hughes, associate dean of students at USAO. “However, when anger, worry and irritability prevent people from accomplishing everyday tasks, getting help is crucial.

“Untreated depression can deplete a person’s energy and interfere with his or her ability to complete basic tasks. Recognizing that there is a problem is the first step to get help. These screenings are a great first step to discovering depression problems.”

The screenings will address the risk for suicide, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder – as well as depression, Hughes said. The screenings are open to anyone in Grady County.

Clincial depression affects more than 19 million American adults each year. Signs of depression may include a persistent sad or anxious mood, sleeping too little, early morning awakening or sleeping too much, reduced or increased appetite and weight fluxuations, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, restlessness or irratability, difficulty remembering or making decisions, fatigue or loss of energy, thoughts of death or suicide.

Starting with only 90 sites in its first year, the Screening Day program has grown to reach more than 85,000 people at 3,000 sites nationwide. To respond to the year-round need, the program also maintains a toll-free, year-round phone line and anonymous screening locations in local areas. Additional screening sites can be found at www.mentalhealthscreening.org.