SOURCE: Screening for Mental Health

October 08, 2013 15:58 ET

Military Installations Worldwide Observe National Depression Screening Day on October 10th

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwired - October 08, 2013) - On October 10, 2013, military installations worldwide will encourage service members and their families to assess their risk for depression, PTSD and other related disorders by taking an anonymous self-assessment online at www.MilitaryMentalHealth.org.

"Depression can affect anyone, and the first step to finding out if it is affecting you is to take an online self-assessment," said Dr. Robert Ciulla, a clinical psychologist and Chief of the Mobile Health Program at the Defense Department's National Center for Telehealth & Technology. "The online tool provides the opportunity for a quick mental health check-up and will assess whether an individual should consult a professional for help."

Research shows that about half of all people who suffer from depression do not seek treatment. Some people may fear that it will impact their careers, others worry about friends and family knowing, and still others are not aware they are depressed. The most effective way to treat depression is in its early stages before it reaches a crisis situation, although it is never too late to seek help.

Each year on National Depression Screening Day, Military Pathways offers anonymous, online self-assessments at www.MilitaryMentalHealth.org. Service members, veterans and their families can access the site to see if they have symptoms of depression, or a related disorder, and receive information on how and where to get help.

A self-assessment, which only takes a few minutes, is a short series of questions that, when looked at as a whole, can gauge a user's emotional wellbeing. In addition to depression, the self-assessments address posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder, alcohol use disorders and bipolar disorder. After completing a self-assessment, users receive referral information depending on their geographic location and service branch.

Symptoms of depression can include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or empty feelings
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Decreased energy; feeling tired all the time
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide; suicide attempts

Military installations around the world will recognize National Depression Screening Day with events that encourage screenings, educate service members and promote good mental and physical health. Since 2006, more than 300,000 screenings have been completed online at www.MilitaryMentalHealth.org.

Military Pathways gives service personnel and their families the opportunity to learn more about mental health and alcohol use through anonymous self-assessments offered online. The program is designed to help individuals identify symptoms and access assistance before a problem becomes serious. The self-assessments address alcohol use, PTSD, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder and adolescent depression. After completing a self-assessment, individuals receive referral information including TRICARE, Military OneSource and Veterans Affairs. The program is run by the nonprofit Screening for Mental Health, Inc. and is funded by the Department of Defense with support from the Center for Telehealth and Technology (https://www.T2health.org).

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