By Jayne Davis
From Defense Centers of Excellence Strategic Communications
You’re probably familiar with the saying, “The best things in life are free.” One free thing of note happening today at military installations and health fairs worldwide is the recognition of National Depression Screening Day.
Key goals of the National Depression Screening Day program, offered annually during Mental Illness Awareness Week, are to ease the process of seeking help for psychological health concerns and reinforce the message that seeking help is a sign of strength.
To raise additional awareness about the link between physical and emotional well-being, Military Pathways®, a program developed for the Defense Department, launched the new campaign, “Healthy Body, Healthy Mind.” Check out Military Referrals for local and national support.
Today (Oct. 6) — and, in fact, throughout the year — service members, veterans and their families can check their emotional well-being with a free, anonymous depression self-assessment online or at military-sponsored health events. No names are taken and no identities revealed. Afterward, participants get guidance about their emotions, learn about resources and services, and find out if talking to a health care professional would be helpful to them.
“Multiple types of military stressors can contribute to depression in service members and their loved ones, but treatment is often successful for this condition, making it well worth getting screened and directed to resources that can help,” said Dr. Paula Domenici, Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP), head of the division of training programs. “Depression is a treatable disorder.”
According to Domenici, rates of depression in service members and veterans seeking care at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals, either for depression alone or with co-occurring conditions, makes it crucial to screen for the disorder, either by providers or through self-assessment opportunities. Domenici has identified rates of depression in military and civilian populations, military risk factors for depression and suicide, provider assessment tools and depression therapies in a CDP article.
Here are more resources on depression:
- Mental Health, Alcohol and Family Articles: comprehensive listing of resources for military, families and children
- What Military Families Should Know About Depression: signs, symptoms and advice on depression
- Department of Veterans Affairs: anonymous depression self-assessment, treatment advice, facts and related articles
- Afterdeployment.org: anonymous depression self-assessment along with related assessments on sleep, post-traumatic stress, anger, worry and hope
- Real Warriors Campaign: insights into depression symptoms, causes and treatments
- Military OneSource or call 800-342-9647
- DCoE Outreach Center or call 866-966-1020
- Major Depressive Disorder Toolkit
CDP is a component center of Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE). For a complete listing and additional information about DCoE component centers, visit www.dcoe.health.mil/WhoWeAre/ComponentCenters.aspx.
Military Pathways is the special program the non-profit Screening for Mental Health developed for the Defense Department to provide discreet, mental health screening for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol misuse, generalized anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder to all service members and members of the reserve components.
Remember, a warrior will readily seek medical attention for a physical injury. Are you willing to seek help for a mental health injury?