Patient Outreach: Mental Health Awareness Week

September 30, 2011

The first week in October. Leaves fall. Kids start school. Temperatures descend. Weather fluctuates. Stigma decreases. Awareness rises-with the help of the 21st anniversary of NAMI's Mental Illness Awareness Week.

The first week in October. Leaves fall. Kids start school. Temperatures descend. Weather fluctuates. Stigma decreases. Awareness rises-with the help of this, the 21st anniversary of NAMI's Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). October 2 through 8 marks a time Congress has set to reach the spectrum of mildly depressed to potentially suicidal-these include universities, the elderly population, the workplace, active military and veterans, and the community at large. Specifically, October 6, 2011 is National Screening Day. Below targets several populations to screen for depression you may wish share with your patients and their families.

A click away to a healthier future
In 2011, technology reigns. The latest information on everything from international headlines to last night’s game is at your fingertips. While smart phones and laptops keep us informed and media savvy, these new technologies can also help assess our mental health. 

Not all wounds are physical
Depression, PTSD, and related mood disorders can not be seen on an X-ray. Yet mental illness is just as painful. And the stigma associated with the disease often prevents many from seeking help and getting treated. National Depression Screening Day (NDSD) gives people access to an anonymous validated, screening questionnaire and provides referral information for treatment. 

You are not alone
Ever feel like you are the only one who is sad in a world of happy people? Everyone experiences stress, sadness and anxiety from time to time – it's part of life. These feelings often happen when you a lose a job, children move away from home, during divorce, with a death in the family, or during retirement. But when changes in mood and behavior interfere with one’s ability to work, sleep, eat, and enjoy once pleasurable activities, it could be a sign of depression. 

Depression is NOT a normal part of aging
Retirement does not always equal a life of leisure. As most Americans dream of the golden years ahead, many senior citizens have a difficult time adjusting to a slower pace and less responsibility. Symptoms of clinical depression often accompany other illnesses common later in life, such as Parkinson disease, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. But the stigmas associated with mental illness often prevent seniors from seeking treatment, and without treatment, depression can lead to destructive behavior and thoughts of suicide. Comprising only 12% of the U.S. population, individuals aged 65 and older account for 16% of all suicide deaths, with white males being particularly vulnerable.

National Depression Screening Day (NDSD) gives people access to an anonymous validated, screening questionnaire and provides referral information for treatment. Visit www.HelpYourSelfHelpOthers.org to find a local organization offering depression and anxiety screenings or take a free, anonymous screening online today.