National Depression Screening Day

National Depression Screening Day (NDSD) was first observed in 1991 and has since been held annually during Mental Illness Awareness Week in October. This year, NDSD falls on October 11. NDSD is the nation’s oldest voluntary, community-based screening program. Mental Illness Awareness Week presents an opportunity to all NDSD affiliates across the country to offer screening programs to the military, colleges and universities, businesses and community-based organizations. Since its inception, more than half a million people each year have been screened for depression through National Depression Screening Day. Clinical depression is a biopsychosocial disorder in which feelings of anxiety, stress, fatigue, frustration and anger can overwhelm an individual and interfere with everyday life for extended periods of time. Depression is one of the most common psychiatric disorders, with 18 percent of men and women in the United States reporting at least one depressive episode in their lifetime. Depression can be treated successfully in most people using talk therapy, medication or both. More than 80 percent of all people suffering from depression can be successfully treated by avenues offered through the NDSD. It’s because of depression’s often inexplicable and isolating stigma that NDSD was designed to educate individuals and families about the signs and symptoms of depression, bipolar, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and generalized anxiety disorders through anonymous online self-assessments. The stigma associated with mood disorders is what often prevents people from seeking help and treatment. NDSD gives people in need access to an anonymous, validated, screening questionnaire and most importantly provides referral information for the appropriate treatment. Screening through NDSD for anxiety disorders and other mental illnesses is important because it allows healthcare providers to identify these illnesses early on, making treatment more readily available. One of the most important methods of treatment offered by NDSD is talk therapy. Family therapy may also help children and teens reconnect with their families and combat further depression.