Western Illinois University Counseling Center offers free depression screenings

Kayla Trail

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 Western Illinois University students can get a confidential depression screening tomorrow at the Counseling Center in room 102 of Memorial Hall.

 The screening will take place between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and offers the chance for students, faculty and staff to learn more about what to expect with depression symptoms and treatment.

 The month of October is National Depression Awareness Month. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s (ADAA) website reads, “Forty million U.S. adults suffer from an anxiety disorder, and 75 percent of them experience their first episode of anxiety by age 22.”

 In 2008, the ADAA and mtvU conducted a study amongst college students that found that 80 percent say that they frequently or sometimes experience daily stress, 34 percent have felt depressed at some point in the past three months, 13 percent have been diagnosed with a mental health condition and 9 percent have seriously considered suicide in the past year.

 “Physical symptoms of social anxiety disorder may include blushing, profuse sweating, trembling, nausea or other abdominal distress, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness or lightheadedness, headaches, and feelings of detachment and loss of self-control,” reads the ADAA website.

 The website also says that a major depressive episode may include “persistent sad, anxious or ‘empty’ mood,
feelings of hopelessness, feelings of guilt, loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities, decreased energy, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, low appetite and weight loss, thoughts of death or suicide and or restlessness.”

 Marsha Dace, a licensed clinical professional counselor at the University Counseling Center, said that the purpose of this screening is to inform students of what to expect and how to be knowledgeable about depression.

 “The goal of our Depression Screening Day is to educate students about the sign and symptoms of depression,” Dace said. “As well as make them aware of resources that are available.”

 On the Western Illinois University Counseling Center’s Facebook page it says how the screening will go and what students, faculty and staff can expect.

 “Participants will receive informational material and view a brief video on the causes and symptoms of depression and suicide as well as information regarding treatment of depression,” the page reads. “They will anonymously complete a written screening for depression and have the opportunity to discuss the results with a counselor.”

 “There will be a variety of educational resources,” Dace said. “That can be taken home and there will be a list of referral resources available.”

 Dace said that the screening is anonymous and that a number will be assigned to each participant and that is how
they will be identified.

 The screening is just a screening and it is not a way for someone to get diagnosed with depression.

 “The screenings are administered by qualified, licensed mental health professionals,” Dace said.

 For students who are unable to attend the depression screening day event, they can still seek help.

 “(If students) feel like they are having depressive symptoms, they are welcome to contact the University Counseling center for more information at 309-298-2453,” Dace said. “They may also contact (the) Beu Health Center (309-298-1888).”