National Depression Screening Day 2010Today is the annual “National Depression Screening Day,” an effort to help people learn if they have the “common cold” of mental disorders — depression. Depression is characterized by feelings of never-ending sadness, hopelessness, fatigue, trouble with sleep, trouble with eating, and trouble with enjoying things in life that only yesterday seemed to bring a smile to your face (or some combination of those and similar kinds of symptoms).

In order for depression to be diagnosed, you must have felt these kinds of symptoms without a break for at least two weeks. Most people who experience depression, however, suffer in silence with their symptoms for a lot more than 2 weeks — some suffer for months or even years before finally seeking help for the problem.

When National Depression Screening Day began 20 years ago, it made a lot of sense. The quickest way to evaluate clinical depression is by an experienced mental health professional, like a psychologist.

But in this day and age of the Internet, I’d argue there’s little need to see a professional just to get a screening for depression. Our online depression screening quiz has been available for nearly 15 years and is a reliable, instant screening tool that you can take from the comfort of your home. Join the over 3 million others who’ve already taken the test, and share it with your friends and loved ones.

And frankly, the diagnosis of depression isn’t rocket science. You can review the symptoms of clinical depression yourself and see if you or a loved one may be at risk for it.

None of these online tools or symptom lists can substitute for a real diagnosis from a trained mental health professional. However, they can act as a quick screening tool to help you understand if this is a concern that you should consider seeking out further help for.

The sunflower image is courtesy of iFred, the International Foundation for Reasearch and Education on Depression. You can learn more about why the sunflower and information about the foundation here.

?Ready to get help?
Why not use our therapist directory to find a therapist within your local community?