October is National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month, a time when clinicians and their communities come together to spread awareness and combat mental illness. By working together, we can all promote the importance of mental health screenings while reducing the stigma associated with mental health illnesses.
Common Symptoms of Depression
The following are some of the most common symptoms of depression. If you or someone you love has been experiencing one or more of these nearly every day for at least two weeks, it’s a sign you or they may be suffering from depression:
Persistent sadness or anxiety
Loss of interest in hobbies
Decreased energy or fatigue
Becoming more and more isolated
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
Loss of appetite
Thoughts of death or suicide
What Clinicians are Doing
It’s common for people battling depression to feel worse during the holidays. That’s one reason why the month of October was chosen as the awareness month; because it gives people plenty of lead time to get help before the festivities hit.
During this time, many clinicians, hospitals, and mental health facilities will either reduce or completely waive the fees for mental health screenings. This makes it far easier for those individuals who believe they may be suffering from depression to receive an affordable and accurate diagnosis.
What Can You Do?
If you or someone you love is suffering from depression, it’s important to get screened. After your screening, a qualified practitioner will discuss a treatment plan with you that may include talk therapy, medication, or a combination of the two.
If you are someone who has recovered from depression, it’s a wonderful idea to share your journey with others if you feel comfortable doing so. Often when people are struggling with their own darkness, knowing someone has walked through to the other side and is living once again in the light, can offer hope and encouragement.
If you or someone you love is interested in speaking with a trained therapist, please reach out to me. I would be happy to discuss how I might help.
Chelsy A. Castro, JD, MA, AM, LCSW