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October is National Depression & Mental Health Screening Month

Millions of people, regardless of their age, race, or ethnicity, suffer from depression. According to estimates, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will experience major depression during their lifetime.

There are a number of symptoms associated with depression, including sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, thoughts of suicide, and changes in appetite or sleep patterns. As such, in October, people are encouraged to get screened for depression and mental illness, in order to raise awareness of depression and the importance of early detection and treatment.

It is important to seek mental health professional assistance if you experience any of these symptoms. In addition to medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes, there are many effective treatments for depression.

The best way to recover from depression is to detect it early and receive treatment. If depression is left untreated for too long, treatment can be more challenging.

Throughout National Depression & Mental Health Screening Month, there are many ways to participate. Here are some options:

  • Get to know the symptoms of depression.

  • You can talk about depression with your family and friends.

  • Educate people about depression and encourage them to get screened.

  • Contribute to mental health care improvement by supporting organizations.

We can help people live healthy and fulfilling lives by increasing awareness of depression and early detection and treatment.

What is depression?

Across all age groups, races, and ethnicities, depression affects millions of people. An individual suffering from this disorder experiences persistent sadness and loss of interest in activities they once found enjoyable. It is also common for people with depression to feel fatigued, to have trouble concentrating, and to have thoughts about suicide or death.

Mild depression symptoms can ebb and flow over time, as can severe depression symptoms. It is possible to have only a few depressive symptoms or to experience a complete episode of depression.

These are some of the most common symptoms of depression:

  • A feeling of sadness or depression

  • The loss of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyed activities

  • An increase or decrease in appetite unrelated to dieting

  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping

  • Fatigue or loss of energy

  • Problems thinking, concentrating, or making decisions

  • Feeling restless or sluggish

  • Having a sense of worthlessness or guilt

  • Suicidal or death-related thoughts

A mental health professional should be consulted if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

What causes depression?

It is unclear what causes depression, but genetics, biology, and environment all play a role. Depression is associated with a number of risk factors, including:

  • A history of depression in the family

  • Adversity or trauma in one's life

  • Chronic pain, thyroid problems, and other medical conditions

  • Substance abuse

  • Life events that cause stress, such as losing a job or losing a loved one

How is depression treated?

Medications, therapy, and lifestyle changes are all effective treatments for depression.

To treat depression, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are often prescribed. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for mood regulation, is increased by these medications.

Depression can also be treated with therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). In CBT, negative thought patterns that contribute to depression are identified and changed.

Depressive symptoms can also be reduced by making lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and sleeping enough.

How can I get help for depression?

It is important to seek mental health care if you are suffering from depression. You can develop a treatment plan for depression with the help of a therapist or counselor.

When you visit a mental health professional with depression symptoms, you may be given a depression screening test. The test is quick and easy, and a treatment plan follows.

In many depression tests, you will be asked to rate the severity of symptoms related to depression. The severity of symptoms is determined by their frequency or degree. When you visit a health professional, you will be given the test to complete.

Depression tests can be classified into various types. In some cases, tests are prescribed for specific ages, while in others they are prescribed for specific situations. The overall accuracy of several commonly used tests for diagnosing depression is good, but none is 100% accurate.

There is no need to provide any medical history or other information during the tests, which are straightforward and take a few minutes to complete. You will be notified of the next steps after you have completed the test and your responses have been evaluated by the health professional.

Among the most common tests are:

  • Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). This test is used to determine the severity of depression and to screen for it. A total of 21 self-report items are included in the survey, each of which is accompanied by a multiple-choice response option.

  • Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). The purpose of this test is to determine the duration of symptoms. Scores range from 0 to 27. Mild depression is defined as scores of 5–9, moderate depression as 10–14, severe depression as 15–19, and moderately severe depression as 20.

  • Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS). Individuals are assessed for depression before, during, and after treatment. It contains 21 items but is scored based on the first 17 items, which are either measured on a 5-point scale or on a 3-point scale.

How can I participate in National Depression & Mental Health Screening Month?

You can participate in National Depression & Mental Health Screening Month in many ways. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Find out more about depression and its symptoms.

  • Learn stress management skills.

  • Be sure to get screened for depression yourself, as well as encourage others to do so.

  • Let others know you understand and care about depression by sharing a social media post.

  • Provide support to mental health organizations.

As we raise awareness of depression and the importance of early detection and treatment, people can get the help they need to live a healthy, fulfilling life.

How to get help

Depression symptoms should be addressed as soon as possible. You can seek help from the following resources::

  • Your doctor. Depression can be diagnosed and treated by your doctor.

  • A mental health professional. Depression can be managed and understood with the help of a therapist or counselor.

  • A support group. It is possible to receive emotional and practical support from people who understand what you are going through through a support group.

  • Online resources. NAMI's website and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance's website are among the many online resources available.

Here are some additional resources for getting help with depression:

  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

  • The Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741

  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)

  • The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. You can get help if you need it. Don't hesitate to seek help if you are struggling with depression.


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