In recognition of National Depression Screening Day on Oct. 8, Screening for Mental Health Inc., is sending out a call to action offering free, brief and anonymous mental health screenings at HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org. The website lists locations across across the country, by state, that offer mental health screenings to college students, military members and their families, and the general public. Screenings are held at various locations, including community centers, hospitals and colleges, according to an SMH news release.
A public health issue
“Eradicating the stigma surrounding mental illness is paramount in diagnosis and recovery,” Douglas Jacobs, MD, founder and medical director, Screening for Mental Health Inc., said in the release. “In order to be recognized as the public health issue that it is, depression needs to garner the same attention as physical health. National Depression Screening Day has played a key role in raising awareness for 25 years, and we’d like to use this milestone to reinforce that checking in on your mental health is as important as checking in on your physical health.”
In 2013, an estimated 15.7 million adults aged 18 or older in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. This represented 6.7 percent of all U.S. adults, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Who is at risk?
According to the NIMH, women are 70% more likely than men to experience depression during their lifetime. Also, 3.3% of 13-to-18 year olds have experienced a seriously debilitating depressive disorder.
The World Health Organization predicts depression will become the second-leading contributor to the global burden of disease by 2020, behind heart disease, said the release. More than 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression, according to the WHO website.
National Depression Screening Day, held annually on the Thursday of the first full week in October, is dedicated to raising awareness and screening people for depression and related mood and anxiety disorders.
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