Got Depression Symptoms? A mental health screening can help you find out

By: Springfield-Greene County Health

If you’ve ever been screened for health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes, you probably know what a health screening can entail. Health screenings are defined as medical tests that doctors use to check for disease and health conditions before there are any signs or symptoms.

Many may not know that you can be screened for mental health, too. The importance of getting health screenings routinely is indescribable, and your mental health — no matter if you are showing signs or symptoms of an illness — can, and should, be a part of that routine.

For those who are not comfortable seeking out a professional mental health screening right away, or just want to figure out where to start, there are online mental health screenings that can help you determine what next steps to take.

This Thursday, Oct. 6, is National Depression Screening Day which encourages everyone to take an online screening to help determine if they are experiencing symptoms of depression.

Clinical depression is a serious health issue and can lead to fatal outcomes like suicide. According to Mental Health America, only about a third of those suffering from severe depression seek treatment from a mental health professional.

Additionally, there are some people who have depression who shrug off their symptoms or belittle their anxiety by saying it’s normal or everyone deals with it, which can lead to those unfortunate outcomes.

Checking in on your mental health is important, and we encourage you to do so. Locally, depression prevalence is at a higher percentage than the state, nation and region according to the most recent Ozarks Health Commission report.

When should I get a depression screening?

Depression is a unique experience for everyone, but there are some key symptoms that you or your loved one has that can indicate it may be helpful to have that screening:

· Feeling sad, anxious, or “empty”

· Experiencing weight loss or increased appetite/weight gain

· Feeling restless or irritated

· Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

· Fatigue or loss of energy

· Sleeping too much or too little

· Thoughts of death or suicide

Remember, screenings aren’t a professional diagnosis and are simply there to help determine whether you are experiencing key symptoms of depression you might have ignored or didn’t realize you had.

Where do I find an online depression screening?

There are tons of online screening tests available when you’re ready. On sgfmentalhealth.org, there is a direct link to an online screening which provides the following options for a mental health screening:

· Checkup: Help determines if your recent thoughts or behaviors may be a associated with a common, treatable mental health issue.

· Anonymous: Remain anonymous and take any screening anywhere that is comfortable for you.

· Fast: If you only have a few minutes while you’re waiting in a drive thru, or on public transit, these screenings only take a short time and will provide information on next steps at the end.

I’ve taken a screening and it says I have symptoms of depression, what do I do now?

You should always talk to your doctor or qualified mental health professional if you are experiencing any of the key symptoms of depression. Screenings, as mentioned, are not a professional diagnosis so seeking out a professional screening/help is the best and most responsible next step.

If you’re looking for mental health professionals in Springfield, visit sgfmentalhealth.com for a list of community resources.

Remember, if you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or are experiencing mental distress, 988 is now a direct lifeline to a local agency that will help you.

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Depression can be confusing and taxing to talk about, but it’s important to treat depression and mental health as seriously as we do other health issues. We encourage you to talk to your doctor about mental health screenings and utilize the resources at sgfmentalhealth.com to help determine future steps. We continue to be here with you as we face this crisis.

Sources:

https://www.mhanational.org/national-depression-screening-day

https://screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/hyho

https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline

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