October is National Depression and Awareness Month
What is Depression
Depression is a complex and serious biopsychosocial condition that impact millions of individuals regardless of race, sex, age, gender, socioeconomic status or life situations. Major Depression is often misunderstood as simply feeling sad. Some persons are genetically predisposed to becoming depressed while others can experience major life events, traumas, physical diagnoses such as Cancer, Hypothyroidism and/or triggers which precipitate a depressed mood. Regardless of the causes of depression, if it is left untreated, the consequences can be devastating mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and socially to depressed individuals, friends, family members and our society. Therefore, it is very important to understand that acknowledging symptoms depression and seeking help is a strength and not a weakness.
October 10, 2019 is Annually National Depression Screening Day
The Patient Health Questionnaire – 9 (PHQ-9) is a widely used and researched depression screening tool for adults. This tool was handed out during the HAC Links Chapter meeting on October 12, 2019. This is a self-administered tool that can be found online and scored to help assist in the diagnosis of depression. Please go to www.mhascreening.orgfor a confidential, anonymous and free online depression screening. This screening is important because clinical depression is a medical illness and can be a precursor for suicide. This tool does not take the place of a professional diagnosis of clinical depression. It serves as a tool for a referral to your primary care doctor, psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers and/or qualified mental health professionals.
Approximately 1/3 of individuals who experience severe depression seek treatment from mental health professionals
Major Depression affect over 16 million American adults annually
According to the American Psychiatric Association, women are 2 to 3 times more likely than men receive a diagnosis of depression
Approximately 7% of all Americans will be diagnosed as being depressed
In general, limited studies on the prevalence of depression among African American women indicate that they are more depressed than their white counterparts. More definitive large-scale controlled studies need to be conducted to increase our understanding of Depression among Black women.
DSM V Diagnostic Criteria for Major Depression and/or Clinical Depression
Jessica Truschel (https://www.psycom.net/authorsjessica-trushel)
Mental health professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists or clinical social workers use the DSM V Diagnostic Criteria to diagnose individuals with depression. More specifically, a medical diagnosis of Major Depression states that individuals must experience five(5) or more symptoms during the same 2-week period and at least one (1) symptom should be depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities.
Symptoms of Major Depression
Depressed mood most of the day nearly every day
Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day
Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day
A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down),
Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day
Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or suicide attempt or specific plan for committing suicide.
It is important to note that the above symptoms must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of an individual’s functioning. Also, these symptoms must not be the result of substance abuse or another medical condition
Other Features Associated with Depression
Depressed persons also exhibit irritability, brooding, obsessive rumination, anxiety, phobias, excessive worry over physical health and complain of pain.
Most Common Treatments for Clinical Depression
Combination of Psychotherapy and Antidepressants
Find a local treatment provider via physician referral, friends, health insurance provider, local and national mental health agencies. If you, friends, family members, colleagues, neighbors or acquaintances think you may be suffering from depression, please consult with a mental health professional. You can find a mental health professional in your area by consulting the following online directories:
Psychology Today: https://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms
National Programming of Link Sisters and Mental Health 2019-2020
Please remember to go on the National Links website www.Linksinc.org and and the Links, Inc., Mental Health Toolkit and resources. Click on documents, then programs, then open the mental health folder and read a wealth of invaluable information.
As noted in the Mental Health Toolkit and a quote often used “It takes a Village”. Link sisters we must take care of our mental health as well as support and help each other, our families, and the communities that we serve.