October 2019 is Depression Awareness Month and Oct. 10, 2019, is National Depression Screening Day. It serves as a reminder that clinical depression is a common medical illness affecting more than 16 million adults in the United States each year. Like screenings for other illnesses, depression screenings should be a routine part of health care.
Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can strike at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression, in fact, some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime.
Whether for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or depression, health screenings provide a quick and easy way to spot the first signs of serious illness and can reach people who might not otherwise seek professional medical advice.
National Depression Screening Day (NDSD), is dedicated to raising awareness and screening people for depression and related mood and anxiety disorders. NDSD is the nation’s oldest voluntary, community-based screening program that gives access to validated screening questionnaires and provides referral information for treatment.
The day focuses on connecting with those around you and finding support for yourself and others. Whether you tell one person, talk to a doctor or mental health professional or become an advocate for mental health awareness, it’s important to reach out to help yourself and help others.
Depression screening is effective in linking at-risk individuals with treatment options. Results from a 2009 independent research study by the University of Connecticut and commissioned by Screening for Mental Health confirm this connection. The study showed that 55% of participants who completed an online depression screening and who agreed to participate in a follow-up survey sought depression treatment within three months of the screening.
You can help support the campaign on social media by using the hashtags #NDSD and #ReachOut. Please join us this National Depression Screening Day and help us spread the word to increase awareness of mental health.