Today is National Depression Screening Day, so it’s time for your annual depression checkup. Are you depressed? Or are you skirting the threshold of depression, feeling low on energy and taking little pleasure out of life?
You don’t need to make an appointment or go see someone in person in order to find out the answer to these questions. Since 1995, Psych Central has offered an online interactive depression test that gives you an instant result. While nobody can diagnose a mental disorder online, it can give you a quick sense of whether it’s something to be concerned about and make an appointment with a mental health professional to examine further.
The quick depression test is just 8 questions and is an accurate screening measure for depression. It takes most people less than a minute to complete. The longer 18-question depression quiz is the oldest one online and is a more thorough screen for depressive symptoms. It’s a little more accurate, and most people complete it in under 3 minutes.
Most people who have depression never seek treatment for it. So even if you’re among those people who have no interest in treatment, it’s still good to know, right?
Some common reasons people don’t seek out treatment for depression are cost, stigma or prejudice, and fear of what it might mean.
In terms of cost, most treatments are now covered by your health insurance, no questions asked. If you don’t have health insurance, you’re in a tougher situation, as our country has only a patchwork quilt of coverage for mental health issues, depending upon where you live. You may have access to a community mental health center, which will offer you very low-cost treatment options (such as psychotherapy sessions for only a few dollars).
As for the prejudice or stigma that sometimes accompanies treatment of mental health concerns, by seeking treatment, you’re helping to reduce that prejudice. People will stop treatment mental health concerns as something different when more people acknowledge their battles (just as has been done with cancer).
Finally, what does it mean to be diagnosed with a mental health issue? Does it mean you’re “crazy?” Maybe. But so what? We’re all a little crazy, in our own and very different ways. Being diagnosed simply means that the concern you’re grappling with is really interfering with your life — so much so, going to work or school is just impossible any more. Having a normal relationship with a loved one is getting harder.
Imagine breaking a leg in an accident, and not being able to go to work… Would you go to the doctor’s to have it fixed? Or would you stay at home, in pain, and pretend everything was okay?
Most of us couldn’t imagine the latter case, and yet that’s what a lot of people with things like depression do every day — they pretend everything’s okay because they fear facing their concern head on.
Confront your fear and let it drop away, because once you get treatment for depression, you will begin to feel better. Many people express feeling relieved after their first or second session of psychotherapy, and most people can feel significantly better in therapy after only 12 weeks. Medications are also effective and helpful to many, and can begin working in just 6 to 8 weeks. The combination of the two is like a knock-out punch to depression — resolving most people’s depression within a few months.
Depression is a serious concern. Shouldn’t you treat it just as seriously? Take a free screening today, and give yourself a quick depression checkup:
Reminder: Join us for our World Mental Health Day Blog Party on Monday, October 10!