Recent statistics reveal that the economic downturn is not only depressing the economy, but also the public. According to the World Health Organization, depression is twice as common among the poor as among the rich, and recent U.S. census figures indicate that more than 26 million Americans are now living in poverty.
National Depression Screening Day, held on October 6th, serves as a supportive community initiative to connect the public with mental health screenings. Through this program, individuals have the opportunity to take a free, anonymous mental health screening online or locate an in-person screening site at www.HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org. Mental health screenings are an easy way for people to monitor their health and learn about local treatment options.
“Recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that about half of American adults will develop a mental illness in their lifetime,” says Douglas G. Jacobs, M.D., associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the founder of Screening for Mental Health, Inc. (SMH). “We know unemployment and financial problems can take a toll on an individual’s mental health, which is why we’re encouraging the public to take easy, anonymous screening to help those who may be struggling.”
Research supports the use of online mental health screenings as a means of helping individuals identify symptoms that may be consistent with a mental health disorder, and to seek treatment if needed. In an independent study commissioned by SMH, 55 percent of study participants who completed an online depression screening sought treatment within three months of completing the screening.
Thousands of organizations nationwide are hosting National Depression Screening Day including hospitals, colleges, community centers and military installations. After completing a screening, participants receive referral information to local agencies that offer further evaluation and treatment. To find a site near you or to take a screening online, visit www.HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org