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National Depression Screening Day Is October 6

Where to find free screenings in your area.

Key points

  • October 6th is National Depression Screening Day.
  • Free screenings can help identify children and adults struggling with depression.
  • Depression is a serious but treatable condition.
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Held annually during Mental Illness Awareness Week in October, National Depression Screening Day comprises virtual and in-person awareness events, including free depression screenings.

National Depression Screening Day began in 1991 as an effort to reach individuals nationwide with important mental health education and connect them with support services.

The benefits of depression screening by physicians, schools, communities, local organizations, or virtual agencies can detect early symptoms of depression, note otherwise undiagnosed mood disorders, and offer many helpful resources.

Who Should Get a Depression Screening?

It's important to note that mental health disorders don't care about your age, ethnicity, or cultural background. Depression doesn't care if you're rich or poor. Depression can be found in every country around the world. And anyone can develop depression, from young children to adults. However, depression is more common among people who:

  • Have a family history of mental illness.
  • Have another mental health condition like anxiety.
  • Struggle with a substance use disorder, like drug addiction or alcoholism.
  • Recently experienced a stressful life change or traumatic event.

Symptoms of Depression

Children and adults who struggle with depression may experience the following symptoms in mild, moderate, or severe forms.

  • A persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
  • Sleeping too little, early morning awakening, or sleeping too much
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Feelings of guilt, restlessness, hopelessness, worthlessness, or fear
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Changes in appetite or eating behavior
  • Poor concentration
  • Suicidal thoughts

How to Access Screenings

For an anonymous screening, check out organizations like Mental Health America. You can also take more direct action and ask your healthcare practitioner or your child's school for a free screening. Contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness to find a local chapter to help you find more community information.

To help support National Depression Screening Day, use the hashtags #NDSD on your social media.

If you or someone you love is contemplating suicide, seek help immediately. For help 24/7, dial 988 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. To find a therapist near you, visit the Psychology Today Therapy Directory.

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