What is a Depression Screening?

Elizabeth Grobstein

National Depression Screening Day is October 6

A depression screening is a test that helps to find out if you have depression. This can sometimes be called a depression test. Though depression is common, it is a serious illness. Anyone can feel sad at times, however, depression is different from your usual sadness or grief. It can make it hard to be productive at home and at work and you may even lose interest in activities you once enjoyed. In some cases, people with depression can feel worthless and are at a risk of harming themselves. Remember to never self-diagnose and make sure to talk with a mental health provider or other health professional if you believe you may be showing signs of depression.

Types of Depression

There are a variety of types of depression. The most common types are:

  • Major depression - persistent feelings of sadness, anger, and/or frustration and can last for several weeks or more.
  • Persistent depressive disorder - depressive symptoms lasting two years or longer.
  • Postpartum depression - extreme sadness and anxiety after childbirth while possibly making it hard for mothers to care for themselves and/or their baby.
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) - usually occurs during winter when there is less sunshine and most who have SAD feel better during spring and summer.
  • Psychotic depression - happens with psychosis which is a more serious disorder. People with psychosis may lose touch with reality. 
  • Bipolar disorder - previously called manic depression. Alternating episodes of mania (extreme highs) and depression.

Thankfully, with treatment such as medicine and/or talking therapy most people with depression can feel better. 

An image of a person sitting on cement ducking their head into their arms.
Remember, you don’t have to suffer through depression alone. 

Why Depression Screening is Needed and What is it For?

A depression screening may be needed if you are showing signs of depression and the screening itself is used to help diagnose depression. A depression test may be administered by your primary care provider if the signs of depression are present. Once the screening is completed, if it shows you have depression you could seek treatment from a mental health professional. If you happen to already be talking with a mental health professional they may give you a depression test in order to guide your treatment. The signs of depression include:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in day-to-day activities including hobbies, sports, or sex
  • Anger, frustration, irritability 
  • Sleep issues including difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep, or sleeping to much
  • Lack of energy and fatigue 
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty making decisions or concentrating 
  • Feeling worthlessness or guilt
  • Gain or loss of a fair amount of weight

A very serious sign of depression is thinking about or attempting suicide. If you are having feelings of hurting yourself or attempting suicide seek help immediately. There are lots of ways to get help including:

  • Calling 911 or visiting your local Emergency Room
  • Calling your mental health professional or other health professional
  • Reaching out to a loved one or other close friend
  • Calling a suicide hotline, if in the US - The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
An image of a woman with her hands on her head with a look of frustration.
It can be frustrating to deal with symptoms but getting a depression screening can help.

National Depression Screening Day

National Depression Screening Day occurs annually around October 6. For 2022 it is on October 6. There are roughly 40 million adults in the United States that suffer from depression or anxiety. Friends, family, and coworkers of these people are also impacted. This day is important for a couple reasons including aiding people to make an informed diagnosis, pulling the depression out of the darkness, as well as bringing help to those in need. 

How You Can Observe National Depression Screening Day

You can observe National Depression Screening Day by learning something new, reaching out to someone, and contributing to the fight. If you suffer with symptoms you can use National Depression Screening Day to learn how to manage them. If you are someone who does not suffer, use this day to learn about how you can help someone else. Since roughly 40 million adults suffer from depression or anxiety, you most likely know someone who suffers. 

Take this day, to reach out to them and let them know you support their fight. Use this day to fight back, whether you struggle or not. Research about different volunteer opportunities or even post on social media about the battle to let others know you understand and care. 

An image of letters spelling out Mental Health Matters.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, so get checked out if you believe you are suffering.

One way to learn something new would be to start off by beginning a conversation with those close to you regarding mental health. These 5 Must-See All Age Movies that discuss mental health can get the conversation going. Bringing up a conversation about mental health can be challenging but with the help of these movies it can make it a little easier. Even though these movies can be considered children’s movies, people of all ages can watch, however, adults should not be quick to judge that these movies could have important lessons.

Why National Depression Screening Day is Important

This day is super important for a variety of reasons including determining if you are suffering from depression, spreading resources, and fighting the stigma. If you believe you are suffering symptoms, meet with a health care provider to help understand your feelings and diagnose your condition. Even if you are not suffering from depression you can be affected by it. 

This day helps to spread more resources teaching everyone about the signs, symptoms, and effects of depression while bringing more understanding to it. There is still a stigma around that anxiety and depression disorders are something to hide, however, on this day as communities we can help fight this stigma together.

On this National Depression Screening Day, try to find a way to fight the stigma and support mental health. This stigma around mental illnesses most likely comes from people not fully understanding mental illnesses or what it means to struggle with one. The stigma can lead people who are suffering to deal with feelings of shame and self-consciousness. Some ways you can help fight this stigma are:

  • Gaining perspective
  • Sharing your own mental health journey with others
  • Sharing positive communication about mental health
  • Educating yourself and others 
  • Being aware of your language 
  • Recognizing someone outside of their illness
  • Supporting local/national mental health organizations and crisis centers
  • Speaking up
  • Being an advocate 

Natural Ways to Fight Depression

There are lots of ways to fight depression and make sure to talk with a mental health care professional for more in depth treatment options. Not all treatment options involve the use of medicine, in fact, there are a few natural ways to fight depression which include: 

  • Diet 
  • Exercise 
  • Meditation

There are no restrictions on recovery because treating depression is not an “either-or” strategy. However, you should always talk with a medical professional before deciding to only follow a natural approach towards treatment. Remember to always talk with a mental health professional to go over all your options and help diagnosing if you have depression.

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