National Depression Screening Day is October 6 and Mercer Island Youth and Family Services (MIYFS) 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,” quotes 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 share responsibility.
Depression is a common, treatable mental disorder that will often show-up in adolescence and early adulthood. In fact, many as 8% of teens can experience depression at any one time. However, due in part to an unjust stigma against treating mental health on par with physical health, most don’t 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 suggest a trip to a medical provider.
Depression is not “one-size-fits-all.” For example, sometimes depression can be a single event, while at other times, it is a recurring health issue. Treatment can vary from recognizing and responding quickly to warning signs to crisis intervention to prevent self-harm.
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 on Wednesday 10/5 at 7:00pm in the MIHS library.
In addition, MIYFS invites all Islanders to join us October 6 and spread the word about the importance of mental health check-ups and decrease the stigma about getting help. Parents can contact their pediatrician or MIYFS school counselor (all public schools) for consultation or screening. 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.