Every October, National Depression Screening Day is held to promote mental illness awareness and provide depression screenings. It began as an effort to reach individuals with information about mental health topics and connect people with support services. Today, over 25 years since the first voluntary screenings were held, this day has expanded to include thousands of colleges, community-based organizations, military installations, and local health departments.
In 2016, the County of San Diego will promote Depression Screening Day during the week of October 6th-10th, also known as “Check Your Mood Week.” Over 50 sites have already registered to host depression screenings throughout the county.
“Check Your Mood has been so important to me because of the hidden epidemic of depression which causes unnecessary unhappiness,” explained Ruth Covell, M.D., a long-time volunteer from the Community Health Improvement Partners Behavioral Health Work Team. “Depression is sometimes a precursor to suicide attempts. My own son died by suicide at age 21. Every year, I volunteer for this cause because I don't want any other family to go through what I did.”
Screening sites will offer a depression screening questionnaire called the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) used by clinicians to quickly screen, diagnose and measure the severity of depression. Additional informational materials will be provided to sites and participants by a number of community partners, including the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, It’s Up to Us San Diego media campaign, Community Health Improvement Partners, Optum San Diego’s Access and Crisis Line, National Association Mental Illness San Diego and the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team San Diego County.
“At the County of San Diego, we want our residents to live well and thrive,” said San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts, who is a strong supporter of the event. “Living well includes emotional health just as much as physical health, and that’s why I hope all of us can take the time to check our mood.”
Depression affects people of all ages, geographic locations, demographic and social economic status. It has also been linked to poor physical health. Often many people experiencing symptoms of depression are not diagnosed or treated. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that depression will be the second highest medical cause of disability by the year 2030, behind HIV/AIDs internationally.
“Depression is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders across the nation, but even the most severe cases can be treated,” explained Holly Salazar, Assistant Director of Departmental Operations for the County of San Diego’s Behavioral Health Services. “As part of Live Well San Diego, we encourage people to ‘Check Your Mood’ and get routinely screened for depression, just as they get screened for high blood pressure or diabetes. Check Your Mood Week in October will be a great opportunity for San Diegans to complete a screening.”
Event organizers are looking to increase the number of screening sites and volunteers for the 2016 Check Your Mood event. To reach those who are experiencing the highest rates of depression, event organizers are looking for screening sites among low-income, rural, LGBTQ, aging and homeless populations. Host sites need to be available for a minimum of 3 hours on one day during Check Your Mood week (Monday through Sunday). Locations may be open to the public, but it is not required. Potential sites include: libraries, community centers, entryways in places of employment, and waiting rooms.
Anyone who is interested in participating can register to volunteer. Participating volunteers need to be available for a minimum of 3 hours on one day during Check Your Mood week. Volunteers will be matched to sites based on the information they provide during registration. In-person and online trainings will be offered to ensure volunteers are aware of the behavioral health resources available and which are most appropriate to use in emergency and non-emergency situations.
For a listing of sites, and event information please see the Check Your Mood Website at: http://www.sdchip.org/initiatives/behavioral-health-work-team/check-your-mood/
Check Your Mood registration is open through September 30th.
To register as a site or volunteer please click the links below:
For more information please feel free to contact the Check Your Mood co-chairs: