National Depression Screening Day: An ardent need to address depression

National Depression Screening Day: An ardent need to address depression

It is okay to feel sad or miserable during some point in life, but what if feelings of despondency linger for long and threaten mental health conditions. There are times when one is overwhelmed with emotions of misery and extreme despair and feel that life is not fair with them. Understanding the difference between feelings that are short-lived and chronic, prolonged conditions of unhappiness can help check misdiagnosis for depression.

The “National Depression Screening Day,” observed on October 9 every year reiterates the need for increased awareness of mental health issues and more significantly the ways to address such issues.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 9 percent adult Americans are afflicted with depression. Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for those between 15-44 years.

While the increasing prevalence of depression is definitely a cause of concern, another disturbing fact is that many mentally ill Americans are not receiving adequate help for the problem. The revelation was made by a group of scientists in their study titled “Treatment of Adult Depression in the United States”.

The findings, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine in August 2016, were based on an examination of more than 46,000 adult Americans for signs of depression. The scientists also found that 8.4 percent of the respondents had been diagnosed with depression, but less than 30 percent of them actually sought treatment.

The observations shed light on the fact that such a low percentage of depressed people seek treatment for their disorder. The figures by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) that as many as 16 million American adults had suffered a major depressive episode in 2014 only highlighted the grim condition of American people shying away from necessary and timely treatment.

Reiterating the same, Dr. Simon Rego, chief psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said, “I’m not surprised, but at the same time it’s still disheartening to see that statistic. There’s still this misunderstanding of the importance of mental health disorders and a general tendency for people to say if it’s not physical, it must not be significant.”

The inability of depressed people to realize that they need help only complicates the situation. The insidious condition of depression makes it difficult for the sufferers to comprehend their own condition and to fathom the real state of affairs around themselves, thus, disabling them to look at depression as a mental health condition that needs to be treated urgently.

The notion among depressed people that situations will not change, no matter what they do, only worsens their condition. The state of incessant hopelessness, coupled with a sense of shame and guilt, only aggravates due to perceived stigma. This gives rise to personal stigma which exacerbates the problem, making the treatment difficult.

Road map for recovery

There is a surge in the use of antidepressants among Americans with an increasing number of people coming forward to share their mental conditions, like depression. Despite this, concerns about many adults refraining from seeking professional help fearing perceived stigma do exist. There also exists a need to make available treatment facilities which match the severity of the disorder.

If you or your loved one is suffering from any mental illness, including stress, depression or anxiety, contact the Sovereign Mental Health Services to know about our various mental health treatment facilities in the U.S. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 or chat online for information about our anxiety disorders treatment centers in California.

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