Depression. (A) A mood disorder that is marked by varying degrees of sadness, despair, and loneliness and that is typically accompanied by inactivity, guilt, lack of concentration, social withdrawal, sleep disturbances, and sometimes suicidal tendencies. (B) A lowering of physical or mental vitality or of functional activity.
National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month is a time to prioritize our mental health, de-stigmatize discussions about it, and ensure that everyone has access to the care and support they need. It’s a reminder that our mental health is just as vital as our physical health and that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting more than 16 million American adults each year. People suffering from depression often experience some of these key symptoms:
- A persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed.
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
- Fatigue or loss of energy.
- Sleeping too little or too much.
- Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain.
- Restlessness of irritability
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
Like screenings for other illnesses, depression screenings should be a routine part of healthcare. Clinical depression is a serious medical illness and can lead to suicide. It affects men and women of all ages and races. Sometimes people with depression mistakenly believe that their symptoms are a normal part of life. Depression can co-occur and complicate other medical conditions. Only about one third of those suffering from severe depression seek treatment from a mental health professional.
Screenings are not a professional diagnosis. Screenings point out the presence or absence of symptoms and provide a referral for further evaluation, if needed. You should see your doctor or a qualified mental health professional if you experience five or more of the above symptoms for longer than two weeks or if the symptoms are severe enough to interfere with your daily routine. Please visit Mental Health America Screening Tools to take a quick and easy test. Mental health conditions, like depression and anxiety, are real, common, and treatable. And recovery is possible!
Until next month, stay happy, healthy, and safe! ~Sally~