National Depression Screening Day is Oct. 5 and Mercer Island Youth and Family Services calls on Islanders to get screened for depression and related mood and anxiety disorders and to raise awareness about the importance of mental health.
“There is no such thing as health, without mental health,” said MIYFS Director Cynthia Goodwin. As a community, we all play a role in recognizing warning signs of depression or anxiety in ourselves, family and neighbors.
Depression is a common, treatable mental disorder that will often show up in adolescence and early adulthood. Studies indicate that 15-20 percent of young people are likely to experience an episode of depression before adulthood. However, due in part to the stigma against treating mental health on par with physical health, most do not get help.
Much like a sore throat and fever might suggest the flu, so do changes in sleep/ appetite, poor concentration, loss of energy, loss of interest in usual activities, low self-esteem, feelings of hopelessness or guilt, or recurring thoughts of death or suicide hint at depression. Both would suggest a trip to a medical provider is necessary.
Depression takes many forms and has many causes. Sometimes depression can be a single event, while at other times, it is a recurring health issue. While the very symptoms of depression — such as feelings of hopelessness or lack of energy — can make it difficult to ask for help or to believe that things will improve, we know that with appropriate treatment, most people can recover.
MIYFS invites all Islanders to join them Oct. 5 and spread the word about the importance of mental health check-ups. Parents can contact their pediatrician or MIYFS school counselor (in all public schools) for consultation or screening. Adults are encouraged to contact their physician or MIYFS counseling staff (206-275-7611) for assistance. Learn more at www.nami.org or the National Suicide Prevention Helpline (1-800-273-TALK). In King County, call 2-1-1 for any mental health crisis.
To learn more about how to keep kids in crisis safe, please join Parent EDGE and The MIHS Forefront Suicide Prevention Team for a free training at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15 in the MIHS library presentation room.