Every year, the month of October is recognized as Depression Awareness Month. It’s a vital observation– depression is one of the most common mental health disorders out there today, but it’s also incredibly common for people to struggle with this problem silently, or to not even realize that they have it. Raising awareness and fighting back against mental health stigmas helps to create a world where depression is never something to be ashamed of, and where help and support are easy to find and readily accessible.
One of the best ways to observe Depression Awareness Month is to get screened for depression yourself. Here are some of the benefits!
It Identifies Symptoms
Depression, like many mental health disorders, is often inaccurately portrayed in the media, leading lots of people to have a skewed idea of what it is and what it looks like. You might be depressed and not even realize it! Getting screened by a professional can help to identify things that you may not even realize are symptoms of depression, and can point out to you the ways in which you can help yourself to feel better.
It Spreads Awareness
Some people might not be aware that depression screening is something they have access to, and it can be a hugely helpful resource to people who need help. By getting screened yourself and mentioning it in a positive light to friends and family, you can help to spread awareness about the existence of this service, and maybe lead someone who really needs it to access it!
It Fights Stigma
Despite leaps and bounds of progress in recent years, depression and mental illness are often still viewed as shameful personal things that should be kept quiet and secret. This contributes to people needlessly suffering in silence without any support, feeling isolated from the people they love. Being open and honest about mental health and the struggles that someone can have with it is the best way to fight stigma, and getting screened for depression, even if you aren’t feeling depressed yourself, is a great way to do that!
It Can Prevent More Serious Issues
Depression, like all mental illnesses, is an illness, and just like cancer, diabetes, or any other disease or illness of the body instead of the mind, it can get worse if it goes untreated. Untreated depression can quickly spiral into other, more dangerous conditions, like alcohol or substance abuse or suicidal ideation. Getting screened allows depression to be caught as early as possible, and early treatment can help prevent these serious issues from developing down the line.
It Can Help Identify Family History
Like physical ailments such as high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, or cancer, there is a genetic link to mental illnesses like depression that can make it common in certain families. While this correlation isn’t fully understood, it’s a fact that if one person in your family struggles with their mental health, they probably aren’t the only one. However, you might have a history of depression in your family and just not know it due to stigma and silence over the years! Getting screened for depression symptoms and being open with your family about it can help to build a more reliable medical history for future generations of your family, and may lead to some conversations about past history that are important for you to know.
Getting screened for depression this month can make a big difference in your life and in the lives of people you love! If you want to learn more about depression before speaking to your doctor about screening, you can read up here.