National Depression Screening Day: UCLA organizes mental health screening for its freshmen

National Depression Screening Day: UCLA organizes mental health screening for its freshmen

Getting through college entrance tests or facing university exams may be arduous, and in some cases, provoke anxiousness. While anxiety symptoms are common as a result of continuing stress levels, care must be taken that the affected do not slip into unwarranted depression. Parents of Emily Thornton (name changed) barely recognized her after she returned home post her sophomore year at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Emily’s obsession with study and challenging university life took a heavy toll on her mental as well as physical health.

Emily is not the only student to have spent sleepless nights while trying to succeed in her UCLA exams held annually. There are others going through similar phases. The demands of college atmosphere increase the risk of most students getting afflicted with depression. If left untreated, they may resort to using addictive substances to cope with the challenges they face in their lives.

To deal with the problem, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block has announced voluntary mental health screenings in the school to all freshmen and transfer students. The screening of depression would be part of the new student orientation program focusing on other topics, including dorm parties, conversations with advisors, drinking habits and sexual conduct. The Block’s announcement coincides with the “National Depression Screening Day (NDSD),” which is observed on Thursday of the first full week in October every year. In 2017, the NDSD falls on Oct. 5.

Elaborating on the initiative by the University to encourage students to come forward and get themselves screened, Block said, “Students who choose to participate will be screened for depression and related traits — anxiety, mania and suicidal tendencies. And we will offer help to those who need it.”

Screening is free

The screening process is free, which means that students do not have to worry about bearing the high costs usually involved in psychological examinations. Besides, the fact that screening would be voluntary further alleviates students’ stress to discuss their problems unless they are not mentally prepared to do so. The screening process includes a cursory online survey that lasts only a few minutes. Students looking for help or willing to seek support can enroll themselves for an eight-week cognitive behavioral treatment online, in addition to a self-guided program that would help them identify their problem areas and encourage them to think and react distinctly.

The screening program would initially be directed at the incoming freshmen and transfer students as it is much easier to reach them via orientation activities. In case, the management feels that the mental health of a student is serious, he/she would be referred to a specialized treatment center or treated within the UCLA clinic network.

The move comes as a fresh initiative considering the prevalence of depression among college students. Untreated depression can have serious repercussions, making the depressed student vulnerable to other psychological problems and addictive habits.

Road to recovery

Depression is a serious problem that millions of Americans are struggling with on an everyday basis. If you or someone you know is suffering from any kind of mental illness, including depression, it is important to seek professional help and treatment at the earliest.

Sovereign Health is a leading provider of mental health care in the U.S. Call our 24/7 helpline 866-973-7164 to know more about our mental health facilities in California. You can even chat online with one of our representatives to get details about our mental health rehabilitation centers in California and other states of the U.S.

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