Central New Yorkers are not immune to the estimated 19 million adults that live with depression. Thursday is National Depression Screening day.
Mental Health Screening Director Doctor Douglas Jacobs says depression symptoms can be confusing and those that last longer than 2 weeks are considered red flags. People might notice a change in sleep patterns, appetite, or a loss of energy... along with mood symptoms, indecisiveness and trouble concentrating. Jacobs says all could indicate screening if people can get over the stigma.
“The basic misunderstanding is that depression or anxiety is a weakness, as opposed to it’s an illness. It has specific signs and symptoms. So if people can get over that stumbling block that if they’re depressed that it means that they have a character flaw or that they’re weak, then they can see it as any other illness.”
3 CATEGORIES OF DEPRESSION SYMPTOMS
- MOOD: Feeling down; Loss of interest in usual activities and interests
- BODILY: Change in sleep; Change in appetite; Loss of energy
- COGNITIVE: Trouble concentrating; Feeling Worthless; thoughts of suicide
Jacobs says college students are particularly vulnerable.
“The majority of persons who end up having depression begins at the time around 18 or 20 years old. In part because leaving home is one of the more stressful experiences that someone goes trough in their lifetime.”
DEPRESSION AMONG MILITARY CAN HAVE MANY CAUSES
Active or retired military are another group of concern, affected by catastrophic injuries, relationship disturbances, and witnessing horrific events. Jacobs urges screening to find if treatment could help…especially to reverse a disturbing trend of the tragic results of some depression.
“The decrease we’d like to see in suicides will follow. It might not happen today or tomorrow but it will follow with understanding and attention and encouragement of these young men and women to get screened and to get early treatment.”
Jacobs goal for Thursday's National Screening Day is to raise awareness. He created a 10-question assessment for depression that can be found online at HelpYourselfHelpOthers.Org. Syracuse University offers screening in the Health Department's Counseling program. Other local depression screenings include Saint Joseph's Hospital and Upstate Medical.