I don’t usually write about National _________ Day, but I’m making an exception. National Depression Screening Day is on Thursday (October 11).
Whenever I talk about depression with friends, family or acquaintances, it seems like some people think depression just means you’re sad all of the time. Depression is more than just feeling sad:
Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad. But these feelings are usually short-lived and pass within a couple of days. When you have depression, it interferes with daily life and causes pain for both you and those who care about you. Depression is a common but serious illness.
Liberal talk-show host Rachel Maddow was asked about her depression during an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Regardless of how you feel about Maddow, I think she describes depression in a way that other people who suffer from depression might be able to identify with:
“Ever since puberty, ever since I was 11 or 12, I’ve had cyclical depression. That’s something that has been a defining feature of my life as an adult. It’s manageable. But it’s real. And it doesn’t take away from my joy or my work or my energy, but coping with depression is something that is part of the everyday way that I live and have lived for as long as I can remember. … Depression for me, you can’t distract your way out of it. … When you are depressed, it’s like the rest of the world is the mother ship, and you’re out there on a little pod and your line gets cut and you don’t connect with anything. You sort of disappear. And so it’s not something you can talk-therapy out of. It’s really a chemical thing. You get adrenaline from work, but adrenaline is not a cure.”
Many people who suffer from depression never seek help. This can end tragically.
If you or someone you know suffers from depression, tomorrow would be a good reason to seek help. For people who have insurance, many providers will cover counseling. For people who do not have insurance or are under insured, there are options of places that will provide the services for free or base the price you’re charged on a sliding scale related to your income.
Mental Health Stigma Declining
Public Opinion Survey Reveals the Vast Majority Would Consult a Doctor if Experiencing Symptoms of Depression
National Depression Screening Day® Links Individuals to Treatment, Saves Lives
October 9, 2012 (Boston, MA) – Most Americans are familiar with depression and do not attach a stigma to seeking treatment for it from a therapist. In fact, most Americans believe that depression is treatable and go so far as to say it would not affect their vote in a presidential election if they heard that a candidate had consulted a therapist for depression.
The public opinion poll findings released this month by Screening for Mental Health, Inc., a nonprofit provider of mental health screening programs, come as thousands of community-based organizations, military installations and colleges prepare to host National Depression Screening Day events on Thursday, October 11. Screening locations and anonymous online screenings are available at www.HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org.
“These findings tell us that our efforts to reduce stigma and increase the public’s knowledge of depression through events like National Depression Screening Day are having an effect,” said Dr. Douglas G. Jacobs, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and founder of Screening for Mental Health, Inc. “The goal of the program is to educate people on the symptoms of depression, assess their risk for mood and anxiety disorders and connect those in need with local treatment services.”
The telephone poll conducted by Anderson Robbins Research surveyed 1,021 American adults between September 15 and 20 and sought to evaluate perceptions and knowledge of depression and mental health.
Other key findings include:
- Half (53%) of Americans personally know someone who has been treated for depression;
- Nearly three-quarters (72%) say they’d be likely to speak with a health care provider if they thought they were experiencing signs of depression;
- Two-thirds (67%) believe depression can be successfully treated most of the time;
- Two-thirds (65%) say learning a presidential candidate had sought treatment for depression would have no impact on their vote. There were no significant differences with regard to political party identification;
- Those who know people with depression are more likely than others to seek help themselves, (76%, compared to 66% of those who don’t know anyone with depression), and are more optimistic about the frequency with which depression can be successfully treated.
To continue to educate members of the public on the signs and symptoms of depression and suicide, and the correct course of action to take, National Depression Screening Day will take place on October 11. As part of this 22nd annual event, community organizations, colleges and military installations throughout the nation will offer free, anonymous mental health screenings. This event helps individuals learn the signs and symptoms of depression and suicide; educates friends and family members on what to do if a loved one is at risk; and gives individuals the opportunity to talk to a mental health professional about their own or a loved one’s situation.