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National Depression Screening Day highlights Americans’ awareness of depression

Heather Rudow October 12, 2012

(Photo:Wikimedia Commons)

Check CT Online on Oct. 22 to read Counseling Todays November cover story, in which counselors share their tips for identifying and treating clients with depression.

Oct. 11 marked the 22nd annual National Depression Screening Day (NDSD). In an effort to raise awareness and educate Americans about the disorder, more than a thousand hospitals, colleges, community organizations and military installations across the country offered free, anonymous screenings for depression and other mood and anxiety disorders.

In addition, earlier this month, Screening for Mental Health Inc., a nonprofit provider of mental health screening programs and founder of NDSD, released findings from a public opinion poll on the subject of depression.

Key findings include:

  • 53 percent of Americans report personally knowing someone who has been treated for depression.
  • 72 percent say they would be likely to speak with a health care provider if they thought they were experiencing signs of depression.
  • 67 percent believe depression can be successfully treated most of the time.
  • 65 percent said learning that a presidential candidate had sought treatment for depression would have no impact on their vote. There were no significant differences with regard to political party identification.
  • Those who know people with depression are more likely than others to seek help themselves (76 percent vs. 66 percent) and are more optimistic about the likelihood that depression can be treated successfully.

Says Douglas G. Jacobs, founder of Screening for Mental Health, “These findings tell us that our efforts to reduce stigma and increase the public’s knowledge of depression through events like National Depression Screening Day are having an effect. The goal of the program is to educate people on the symptoms of depression, assess their risk for mood and anxiety disorders and connect those in need with local treatment services.”

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today.

Contact her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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