Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Depression Screening Day 2007

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Thursday, October 11 is National Depression Screening Day. If you or someone you care about has been struggling with undiagnosed mental health issues, this is the perfect time to learn more about depression and find someone to talk to about it.

You may find it helpful to refer to this list of some common symptoms of depression:
  • Persistent sad, anxious or empty mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in ordinary activities
  • Decreased energy, a feeling of fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Inability to sleep or oversleeping
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
Visit this link to find a provider of anonymous screenings in your area: Screening for Mental Health. You are encouraged to attend regardless of whether you are the one experiencing depression or the loved one of a person dealing with depression. At the screening you will receive educational materials, take a written screening test, discuss the screening test results with a mental health professional and learn where to get help in your community. You can also take an online screening if you cannot make it to an event in your area: Online Self-Assessment Program.

One of the big aims of the screening campaign is to prevent suicide.
You can view a suicide risk questionnaire to assess the signs someone you care about may be considering suicide at this link: Stop a Suicide. You may want to familiarize yourself with some basic facts about suicide:
  • 70% of people who die by suicide tell someone about it in advance, and most are not in treatment.
  • Those who have made serious attempts are at much higher risk for actually taking their lives. Between 20 and 40% of people who kill themselves have previously attempted suicide.
  • Nearly 50% of suicide victims have a positive blood alcohol level.
  • Although most depressed people are not suicidal, most suicidal people are depressed.
  • Serious depression can be manifested in obvious sadness, but often is expressed instead as a loss of pleasure or withdrawal from activities that were once enjoyable.
  • Sometimes those contemplating suicide talk as if they are saying goodbye or going away forever.
Each year nearly 30,000 people attempt suicide. It may be scary to consider the reality that someone you love is suicidal, but chances are that if the person is contemplating taking his or her own life, that individual is not in any position to get help. Your suicidal loved one desperately needs your help.

For more information, visit:
Mental Health America: National Screening Depression Day
Screening for Mental Health

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