SMH Marks National Depression Screening Day with a Call to Action for Young Adults

National Depression Screening Day is October 9th


Boston, MAOctober 6, 2014 — To mark the 23rd observance of National Depression Screening Day, Screening for Mental Health, Inc. (SMH), the pioneer in large-scale mental health screenings for the public, is urging young adults to treat mental health like their physical health and take a free, anonymous mental health screening at www.helpyourselfhelpothers.org.

Young adults have consistently shown higher rates of depression and anxiety than any other age group, according to Screening for Mental Health's online screening data for the past five years.  This data is consistent with a recent report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), which states that one in five 18 to 25 year olds has experienced a mental illness and over 66 percent did not receive treatment. These reports highlight the need for young adults to recognize the symptoms of depression and anxiety in themselves and others and to seek treatment.

While young adults have the highest potential to minimize future disability from a mental health condition with early intervention, this age group shows the lowest rate of help-seeking behaviors, according to SAMHSA.

Like many physical illnesses, the earlier depression treatment can begin, the more effective it is likely to be. If left untreated, suicide can be a fatal response to this mental health disorder, particularly for young adults. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 25 to 34 and the third leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 24.

"Early intervention is critical. Teaching young people to be smart about mental health will improve countless lives, and save those we might otherwise lose to suicide," said Robert Gebbia, chief executive officer, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

National Depression Screening Day, held annually during Mental Illness Awareness Week, raises awareness for mood disorders, such as depression, and provides the public with free, anonymous mental health screenings at helpyourselfhelpothers.org. This year, held onOctober 9, National Depression Screening Day focuses on viewing and treating mental health with the same gravity as physical health. Hundreds of organizations across the country including community centers, hospitals, and colleges are hosting National Depression Screening Day health fair and online screening events. To find an event near you, visit helpyourselfhelpothers.org.

"Depression is not weakness of character. It's a mental health issue that should garner the same attention as physical health," saidDouglas Jacobs, M.D., founder and medical director, Screening for Mental Health, Inc. "National Depression Screening Day was created to raise awareness for mental health and have mental health screenings become as commonplace as blood pressure screenings. The more we raise awareness of depression and mental health, the more we can reduce stigma and get help to those in need."

"Mental health screening and access to effective treatment are essential because people with mental illnesses can and do recover. Early intervention can lessen severity, speed recovery, and save lives. Although almost all of us know someone with a mental health concern, stigma around seeking and accessing treatment remains a major issue in the U.S. and globally," said American Psychiatric Association CEO & Medical Director Saul Levin, MD, MPH.

Dr. Levin, on the SMH Board of Directors, will present a free webinar, "Mental Health in the Mainstream," on Wednesday, October 8, with SMH and community group leaders.

The screenings offered as part of National Depression Screening Day are not diagnostic but will determine if someone is exhibiting symptoms associated with depression and other mood disorders and provide them with vital information as well as resources to seek help. In an independent study commissioned by Screening for Mental Health, 55 percent of study participants who completed a depression and mood disorder screening sought treatment within three months.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

About Screening for Mental Health

Screening for Mental Health, Inc. (SMH), the pioneer of large-scale mental health screening for the public, provides innovative mental health and substance abuse resources, linking those in need with quality treatment options. SMH programs, offered online and in-person, educate, raise awareness, and screen individuals for common mental health disorders and suicide. Thousands of organizations worldwide including hospitals, military installations, colleges, secondary schools, and corporations utilize our educational and screening programs, and in turn, have reached millions of people ranging from teenagers to adults. For more information about Screening for Mental Health, visit http://mentalhealthscreening.org/.

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