screen for depression

October 1, 2019  |  Depression, screening
screening for depression

A friend of mine asked me a question after a recent visit with his doctor.

"Why are they asking me whether I feel down?" he said. "That's not a physical health thing. Or is it?"

He had a legitimate question. Having not been to the doctor for several years, being asked about his mental state took him by surprise. But it shouldn't be a surprise at all, say many physicians. A growing number of health professionals agree that mental health and physical health are intertwined and that they and their patients should ask questions pertaining to both.

Which brings us to screening for depression. Every October, the focus of mental health and some physical health professionals turns to depression screening. It's not that they don't do it all the time. It's just that October is Depression & Mental Health Screening Month, a time to help everyone learn about the importance of screening.

What's the big deal about depression screening? For one thing, it helps catch undiagnosed depression. People don't always know that they have it, even when they feel down but don't count it as depression. A professional screening helps to determine that.

For another, it means people who do get a diagnosis will be able to get it treated. This way it doesn't linger, and those folks feel better about life. Not to mention, their families and co-workers might enjoy their company more, too.

What does screening involve? Generally, it will include several questions about interest in life, pleasure in doing things, feeling hopeless, or even whether you're having trouble falling or staying asleep. You might also be asked about how you're eating, or whether you have trouble concentrating.

With the right diagnosis, a person can find help and recover - and that leads to better overall living! If you think you might have depression, tell your doctor or make a visit to see a mental health professional. It may well be worth your time.