In honor of Mental Illness Awareness Week, the nonprofit organization Screening for Mental Health, Inc. will be sponsoring the annual National Depression Screening Day on October 7, 2010. Since 1991, Screening for Mental Health has been hosting the awareness event that is intended to reach a large-scale proportion of the public by offering free, anonymous mental health care screening, education, and treatment resources both online and at available visitor locations.
Each year, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes National Depression Screening Day and encourages the public to take advantage of the event to bolster improved mental health nationwide. With nearly 1 in 10 Americans suffering from a depressive disorder, the CDC recommends that health-care providers regularly screen adults for depression to ensure that diagnosis is accurately administered, and that intervention and treatment are being provided when patients need it most. After analyzing the results of its latest Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey data, the CDC estimates that as many as 9% of the U.S. adult population is suffering from depression—with 3.4% meeting the criteria for major depression. A large prevalence of Americans who met the criteria for depression were from the southeastern states, where higher rates of chronic health conditions commonly exacerbated by depression, like obesity and stroke, also affect this population. The individuals found to be at higher risk of major depression included adults ages 45–64 years, women, African-Americans, Hispanics, other minority races, multiracial persons, those without health insurance, those without a high school diploma, those previously married, and those who are unemployed.
In 2004, depression was the third leading cause of disability worldwide and is expected to become the second leading cause of disability by 2020, second only to cardiovascular disease. Depression distresses the wellbeing and health of affected individuals, their relationships with loved ones, friends, and coworkers, and causes increased employee absenteeism, short-term disability, and loss of productivity. The sooner that depression is treated, the better individuals can recover and resume their livelihood—which in turn benefits households, communities, and the economy. Also, early diagnosis can help treat depression before it worsens or attributes to other health conditions or chronic mental health disorders. Untreated, depression can affect the course and outcomes of such health problems as asthma, arthritis, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
The depression screening assessments are also intended to identify bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, alcohol use disorders, and suicide. To take Screening for Mental Health’s online anonymous self-assessment or to find a screening center near you, visit //mentalhealthscreening.org/locator/ndsd.html. Mental Illness Awareness Week is sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (//www.nami.org).
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Depression Screening Day: October 7, 2010, October 1, 2010