National Depression Screening Day

October 9th is National Depression Screening Day. This means that just about anyone can receive a free, anonymous and confidential screen for a mood disorder. Some stats to keep in mind:

• About 21.5 million Americans suffer from depression.

• Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among youth aged 10-24.

• Depression has a higher mortality rate than cardiac disease.

• Depression causes more days off from work than any other medical disease.

• The large majority of people suffering from depression do not get effective care, even though evidence-based treatments often yield impressive results.

What would we conclude about our culture if the same statistics existed regarding our dental health? Would that not be intolerable?

Most typically, those attending a screening event can count on being greeted by warm and engaging person and asked to complete a form while being assigned a number. No identifying information is usually requested nor is a fee collected. Participants then fill out the form, wait a little (so the form can be reviewed), and then meet with a mental health professional in a confidential space. The primary goal is to figure out if further evaluation might be worthwhile. Typically, screening sites provide referral information and additional education materials.

Steven King has a relevant line: “Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us and sometimes they win.” Depression, and related mood disorders, are monsters that live within the minds of their victims. Depression tends to convince its prey that three lies are true: “Everything is terrible. It’s my fault. It can’t be changed.” But, on 10/9/14, an army of lean-mean-healing-machines will be available to help all those who may be so afflicted to begin to effectively combat this lying liar.

Please do yourself a favor, assuming you might be suffering in this way, and take the brave and wise step to get screened. And, if you know someone who might benefit, why not ask that person to keep you company as you get screened? The potential upside is remarkable while the potential downside is harder to imagine. To find a screening site in your location, click here.


2 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. excellent post. this is a widespread yet underreported disease that impacts the lives of so many men and women. hopefully, many of them will take a moment on this day to consider professional treatment help for their condition.

  2. Thanks for sharing information about this important day Dr Palmiter! I hope that many Americans take advantage of the screenings available.

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