Each year most people see their doctors for a routine physical checkup. Doctors monitor blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, eyesight and hearing. They listen to your heart and lungs, test your reflexes and ask a host of questions related to your physical well-being.
A holistic approach to well-being seeks to include a person's mental and emotional health in addition to his or her physical health. Health professionals have become well attuned to the link between a person's mind and body.
According to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, women 18 to 45 years of age account for the largest proportion of people suffering from depression. While it is true that not all depressed people are suicidal, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that at least 90% of suicidal people are depressed or suffering from another mental illness.
If left untreated, depression can lead to suicide. In the United States, four times as many men as women die by suicide. Suicide is the third largest cause of death for those aged 15 to 24 and the second leading cause of death among college students.
Symptoms of depression in older persons may differ somewhat from symptoms in other age groups. Depression in older people is often characterized by memory problems, confusion, social withdrawal, loss of appetite, inability to sleep, irritability, and, in some cases, delusions and hallucinations.
This year, why not add a routine screening for depression to your list of things to do to take care of yourself and the people you care for? National Depression Screening Day (NDSD) will take place on October 7, 2010.
Held annually during Mental Illness Awareness Week in October, NDSD raises awareness and screens people for depression and related mood and anxiety disorders. Testing is anonymous and free. Referrals to local help are available for those who need them. Online testing is available at the following sites:
In-person and online screening for PTSD, depression and related disorders. Service members and families: take an anonymous assessment online at www.MilitaryMentalHealth.org.
In-person and online screening addressing mood and anxiety disorders on college campuses. Students can find an in-person event or take an online screening at www.CollegeResponse.org.
In-person and online screening for your community members. Take an anonymous assessment online at www.HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org.
NDSD is the nation's oldest voluntary, community-based screening program that provides referral information for treatment. More than half a million people each year have been screened for depression since 1991.
If you or someone you love is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or call 9-1-1 for help. Help is also available at 1-800-SUICIDE, the National Hopeline Network.
Please consider posting these numbers. You may save a life.