Just two decades ago it was not common practice for medical providers to use depression screenings with their patients. Luckily with the increased focus on mental health that came at the turn of the century more and more medical providers are requiring a screening as part of their basic intake paperwork.
Lets take a look at some common scenarios in which depression screenings are useful:
These three women demonstrate some of the various ways that depression screenings are important to use in all medical settings as well as how depression may manifest within someone. I have heard many people mention that they are depressed but it is important to know the difference between sadness and depression.
A diagnosis of depression looks at specific symptoms such as feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, sleeping disturbances whether too much or too little sleep, change in appetite and weight, concentration difficulties, physical symptoms such as digestive concerns or pain, loss of interest in things once enjoyed and suicidal thoughts.
Sadness is a normal part of living based on certain circumstances and can usually go away rather quickly while depression may not have a known cause and can last for a much longer time.
It is estimated that about 17.3 million people suffer from major depressive disorder in the United States. It is likely that either you or someone you know may have experienced sadness, but it is also possible that someone you know may have experienced symptoms of clinical depression.
Historically, depression has been thought of as a taboo topic. Many people hide the fact that they are depressed choosing to battle symptoms alone while others seek help and fear being ostracized. However, many people never go on to get help for a variety of different reasons stemming from lack of access to care, cultural concerns, or not acknowledging that something is wrong.
There has been movement towards normalizing the discussion around depression and mental illness in general. On October 6th, an annual call to action takes place, the National Depression Screening Day. It is a national push to spread awareness, reduce the taboo and get people help. Many will be participating so that hopefully when people like those in the above fictitious vignette go to be seen by their providers, they can receive the mental health care they need as well as not feel scared to report their feelings.
To help, here is an example of questions that could be asked during a screening:
People may think that admitting that they may be depressed or experiencing any other mental health illness makes them weak. It doesn’t! Asking for help is a very brave and self-loving thing to do.
Written by: Samantha Adjekum, LCPC.
At Clarity Clinic, we have highly trained staff who specialize in therapy and psychiatry services. To learn more about how we can support your mental health, call Clarity Clinic on (312) 815-9660 or schedule an appointment today.
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