ANDERSON — Local health organizations are trying to make it easy for the community to participate in free depression screenings in conjunction with a national awareness holiday.
Thursday is National Depression Screening Day, and this is the first year the Mental Health Coalition has actively connected local organizations to offer screenings and services all over the city.
“We just thought that was something good to offer to the community,” said Karen Finnigan, health educator of the Madison County Health Department.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, people can go to one of the following locations for a depression screening: the Anderson Center at St. Vincent Anderson Hospital, 2210 Jackson St.; Aspire Indiana Health, 215 W. 19th St.; Jane Pauley Community Health Center, 1229 Lincoln St.; Community Hospital Pavilion, 3125 S. Scatterfield Road; and the Madison County Community Health Center, 1547 Ohio Ave.
At each of these locations, counselors will be ready to talk to people who find out during the screening that they may have depression. Depression screenings will also be done at the Madison County Health Department, 206 E. Ninth St., but people who would like to be seen by a counselor will be referred to one of the previously mentioned locations.
Organizations will conduct quick depression screenings using the questionnaire of their choice. A common screening that will be used at some locations is the Patient Depression Questionnaire 9 — nine quick questions in which patients indicate if they feel those prompts several days, more than half the days or nearly every day, if at all.
“It’s really treatable, but you have to get people in,” said Christy Lanane, coordinator of marketing at The Anderson Center. “And to get people in, you have to get past that stigma, and that is an ongoing issue.”
About 15 million adults, about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population, are affected by depression, according to Screening for Mental Health Inc. Up to 80 percent of people who have depression show improvement in symptoms after receiving treatment for four to six weeks.
“Sometimes, I feel like depression is viewed as, ‘Oh, everybody is depressed so why bother with it?’” Finnigan said. “But that isn’t the case.”
Lanane said it is important to see whether you have depression because depression symptoms are one of the leading reasons why people see their family doctor, even if they don’t realize they are experiencing depression.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms for depression include:
• Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
• Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration
• Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities
• Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
• Tiredness and lack of energy
• Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
• Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
• Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
• Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
• Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
• Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
• Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
Depression can affect physical health as well, including how people with diabetes and heart disease take care of themselves, Finnigan said. The local economy is even affected by poor mental health.
“Mental health and physical health, they can’t stand alone,” Finnigan said. “If a person isn’t mentally healthy as well, they are not going to take care of the physical concerns. It all has to be dealt with.”
If you go
What: Screenings for National Depression Screening Day
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday
The following locations in Anderson will do screenings with counselors available to talk depending on results:
• The Anderson Center at St. Vincent Anderson Hospital, 2210 Jackson St.
• Aspire Indiana Health, 215 W. 19th St.
• Jane Pauley Community Health Center, 1229 Lincoln St.
• Community Hospital Pavilion, 3125 S. Scatterfield Road
• Madison County Community Health Center, 1547 Ohio Ave.
• Madison County Health Department, 206 E. Ninth St. (for screenings only)