Depression Screening Day is October 14

News Release
For Immediate Release: 10/13/2021

Julie Naughton, Office of Communications, (402) 471-1695 (office); (402) 405-7202 (cell);


Lincoln –Whether for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or depression, health screenings provide a quick and easy way to spot the first signs of serious illness. October 14 draws attention to the necessity of screening for depression.

Depression is a common mental health condition. For some people, depression is mild and short-lived; for others, it is more severe and longer-term. Some people are affected only once; others more than once. At worst, depression can lead to suicide. While it's normal to have bad days at times, or feel stressed out because of difficult life events, depression is different from being in a bad mood and people can't just snap out of it.

“Like screenings for other illnesses, depression screenings should be a routine part of healthcare," said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. “Sometimes people with depression mistakenly believe that the symptoms of depression are a normal part of life, but clinical depression can be a serious medical illness, and individuals may experience suicide ideation. Clinical depression affects men and women of all ages, races and socioeconomic groups. And according to Mental Health America, only about a third (35.3%) of those suffering from severe depression seek treatment from a mental health professional. Hope and help are available for those who need treatment. Take part in your well-being and participate in a screening."

What you should know about depression:

  • Depression is a treatable illness.
  • It's an illness characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that we normally enjoy, accompanied by difficulty carrying out daily activities.
  • Depression is often associated with physical conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic pain; difficult life events, such as losing a loved one;
  • Depression can be treated – with talking therapies, medication or both.
  • Depression can co-occur and complicate other medical conditions. Screenings are often the first step in getting help.

Who should get screened for depression? Key indicators include:

  • A persistent sad, anxious or "empty" mood
  • Sleeping too little, early morning awakening, or sleeping too much
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

In addition to talking to your doctor, you can also take an online quiz for many common mental health conditions at However, screenings are not a professional diagnosis. Screenings point out the presence or absence of depressive symptoms and provide a referral for further evaluation if needed. You should see your doctor or a qualified mental health professional if you experience five or more of these symptoms for longer than two weeks or if the symptoms are severe enough to interfere with your daily routine.

What you can do to help someone who may be struggling:

  • Make it clear that you want to help, listen without judgement, and offer support.
  • Find out more about depression – talking to someone you know who has recovered or a local health worker are good places to start.
  • Encourage them to seek professional help and offer to go with them to appointments.
  • Be patient – recovery can take time.
  • Encourage them to have regular eating and sleeping patterns.
  • Encourage regular exercise and social activities, but be mindful that trying to do too much can be stressful and exacerbate symptoms.
  • Encourage hope that recovery is possible.
  • Take care of yourself if you are a caregiver or support a person with depression.

Need to talk or get immediate help in a crisis?​

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 para Español.
  • Nebraska Family Helpline, (888) 866-8660.  They can engage Crisis Response Teams
  • Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 
  • Rural Response Hotline, (800) 464-0258
  • Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 (oprime dos para Español), or text TalkWithUs for English or llámanos para español to 66746.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
  • National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
  • The Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116  

Go to
All News Releases