National Depression Screening

Last Editorial Review: 12/19/2002

National Depression Screening Day (NDSD), held each year during Mental Illness Awareness Week, is designed to call attention to the illnesses of depression and manic-depression on a national level, to educate the public about their symptoms and effective treatments.

Depression is one of the world's oldest and most common ailments. It can have both physical and psychological symptoms. Millions of Americans are estimated to suffer from depression, a condition so widespread that it has been dubbed "the common cold of mental illness."

Even so, depression is widely misunderstood. Myths and misconceptions have led many people to believe things about depression that simply are not true. Depression is associated with many symptoms and not everyone has the same ones. Some people have many symptoms, while others may only have a few. The symptoms below may signal that you or someone you love may be depressed:

  1. Appearance - Sad face, slow movements, unkept look

  2. Unhappy feelings - feeling sad, hopeless, discouraged, or listless

  3. Negative thoughts - "I'm a failure," "I'm no good," "No one cares about me."

  4. Reduced activity - "I just sit around and mope," "Doing anything is just too much of an effort."

  5. Reduced concentration

  6. People problems - "I don't want anybody to see me," "I feel so lonely."

  7. Guilt and low self-esteem - "It's all my fault," "I should be punished."

  8. Physical problems - Sleeping problems, weight loss or gain, decreased sexual interest, or head aches

  9. Suicidal thoughts or wishes - "I'd be better off dead," "I wonder if it hurts to die."

Seeking Help

Seek help if you:

  • Are thinking about suicide;
  • Are experiencing severe mood swings;
  • Think your depression is related to other problems that require professional help;
  • Think you would feel better if you talked with someone; or
  • Don't feel in control enough to handle things yourself.

To Find Help

  • Ask people you know (your physician, clergy, etc.) to recommend a good therapist;
  • Try local mental health centers (usually listed under mental health in the telephone directory);
  • Try family service, health, or human service agencies;
  • Try outpatient clinics at general or psychiatric hospitals; Try university psychology departments;
  • Try your family physician; or
  • Look in the yellow pages of your phone book for counselors, marriage and family therapists, or mental health professionals.

For more information, please visit the following areas:

  • Depression Center
  • Helping Someone - Who Is Depressed
  • Depression - What To Do

(Source: Center for Disease Control, Clemson Extension)

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