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October 11, 2018

Julie Naughton, Communications and Legislative Services, 402-471-1695 (office); 402-405-7202 (cell);

National Depression Screening Day is Today, Oct. 11

Lincoln – As part of Mental Illness Awareness Week, National Depression Screening Day is being held today, Thursday, Oct. 11.

“Like screenings for other illnesses, depression screenings should be a routine part of healthcare – because there is no health without behavioral health,” said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. “Depression can also co-occur and complicate other medical conditions, and screenings are often the first step in getting help.”

While it’s natural for everyone to have the blues once in a while, the blues tend to disappear quickly and not prevent happiness long-term. The key component of depression is a pervasive feeling of sadness that exists most days for two weeks or longer.

Signs of Depression

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed
  • Substantial decreased energy, fatigue, or feeling “slowed down”
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Substantial appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide or actual suicide attempts
  • Restlessness or irritability

Some people may also experience certain persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain. Those with clinical depression are also twice as likely to have heart attacks.

To take a free, anonymous depression screening test, visit Nebraskans can also access services through the Nebraska Family Helpline, 1-888-866-8660, and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255).