By LISA CAPOBIANCO
An estimated one in 10 adults in the U.S. has reported feeling depressed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Of the 19 million Americans who suffer from depression each year, many experience their first symptoms just before or during college, the University of Michigan Depression Center reported.
In response to this mental health issue, Tunxis Community College in Farmington plans to hold its National Depression Screening Day on Thursday, Oct. 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a free mental health check-up, along with anonymous informational screenings for depression and other mood disorders including anxiety, bipolar disorder, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The public will have the opportunity to take a five-minute questionnaire that addresses mood disorders as well as to speak with a counselor and screeners. Vivian Craven, a counselor at Tunxis who helps coordinate the event, said the screening has helped so many people since it started at the college ten years ago.
“We decided that it was worth the funding,” Craven said. “These disorders are treatable, usually with a combination of therapy and medication.”
Dr. Frances O’Neil, a psychologist at Tunxis who helps recruit volunteers to help out with the event, encourages people to undergo the screening so they can become aware of the symptoms they may experience.
“Many people may be experiencing listlessness, lack of energy and enthusiasm…and interpret the symptoms as due to physical or maybe even economic problems,” Dr. O’Neil said. “Yet these can be just a few of the indicators of depression.”
Dr. O’Neil also said that with the onset of the fall and winter, residents in the northern climate may experience Seasonal Affective Disorder.
“The lack of sunlight may cause them to sleep more, put on weight and feel blue,” she said. “This condition can be remedied.”
According to the CDC, an individual who feels depressed may exhibit sadness or anxiety for weeks at a time. Other signs of depression include feelings of hopelessness and guilt, irritability, loss of appetite or overeating, insomnia, fatigue and decreased energy, persistent aches or pains, headaches, digestive problems that do not improve, lost of interest in activities that were once enjoyable and thoughts of suicide.
Craven said everyone may experience these signs at certain points in their lives, especially when they lose a loved one or a job. But she reported that these signs become serious when they interfere with everyday activities for a long period of time.
“Everyone will go through situations,” Craven said. “It [becomes serious] when it goes beyond a certain period of time, when it is affecting your life.”
National Depression Screening Day takes place annually in October to spread awareness of depression and other mental health disorders, and to inform the public about treatments and symptoms.
Comments? Email lcapobianco@SouthingtonObserver.com.