National Depression Screening Day: Get a Mental Health Checkup Thursday | BU today

Free in-person and virtual quizzes can help students, staff and faculty connect with mental health experts

Almost a third of adults showed symptoms of depression last spring, a year after COVID-19 was first detected, according to a new study by researchers at BU published earlier this week in The Lancet.

“COVID, right to abortion, global warming, then back to school, with classes, internships, applying for college admission, everything is only getting worse,” says Brooke Angell (CAS ’22), president of the Active Minds section of BU, a national student group advocating for mental health. “It’s hard to manage. We are led to believe that this is “the new normal”, but we are not talking about the record that it does. “

This Thursday, October 7 is National Depression Screening Day, and BU invites students, faculty and staff to complete free, confidential screening (online or in person) that can identify people with depression, anxiety, eating disorders and other mental health problems. The purpose of the day is to raise the importance of mental health, say organizers, and the role it plays in a person’s ability to thrive. The event takes place during Mental Illness Awareness Week, which ends October 9. This is the 13th year that BU offers the questionnaire.

The mini mental health check, which takes less than two minutes, will be available both online (all day) and at the George Sherman Union Link (11:30 am to 3:30 pm). At GSU, advisors will be on hand to discuss the results with people and connect people with relevant resources on campus.

Positive mental health is part of the basis of a fulfilling and successful life as a student, staff member, or faculty member.

—Dori Hutchinson

A record 5,840 members of the BU community were tested on National Depression Screening Day last year: 25 percent tested positive for depression and 83 percent tested positive for depression. ‘anxiety, according to event organizer Dori Hutchinson (Sargent’86, ’95), BU’s Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center executive director. Hutchinson says she believes the high percentages (positive screening rates are normally between 35 and 50%) were related to the pandemic and the fact that vaccines were not yet available.

The National Healthy Minds Study (led by Co-Principal Investigator Sarah Ketchen Lipson, Assistant Professor of Law, Health Policy and Management at the BU School of Public Health) surveyed over 18,000 students about their mental health Last year. Among his findings: 39% of students surveyed had symptoms of depression, 34% suffered from anxiety, and 47% said they had received mental health treatment at some point in their lives. University is a common time for the emergence of mental illnesses, experts say.

In addition to hospitalizations and deaths, “the pandemic has resulted in job losses, social isolation and significant life events lost or delayed,” Hutchinson said. “It is difficult, scary and frightening for all of us, and if we are already living with anxiety and depression, this is another important layer that people have to deal with and has really increased our anxiety and our depression.”

Hutchinson says society continues to treat mental health as a moral weakness, and that’s wrong. “There is a lot of prejudice and discrimination against people who live with serious mental health problems,” she says. “So this screening is an attempt to make controlling our mental health as important as making sure our physical health is good. “

The short multiple-choice quiz covers sleeping and eating habits, as well as other information that can help identify the risk of mood disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. Difficulties in functioning on a daily basis, lack of sleep, changes in diet, withdrawing from friends, risky sexual behavior, and thoughts of harming or killing yourself could signal a need for help.

The pandemic has made everyone realize how important mental health is, Hutchinson says. “Positive mental health is part of the basis of a fulfilling and successful life as a student, staff member or faculty member. ”

Melissa Paz, deputy director of mental health promotion for student health services, wellness and prevention, said that over the past year the company has repeatedly entered new releases of time. unprecedented ”, and without a definitive timetable for the duration of this uncertainty. Research shows that uncertainty can lead to feelings of anxiety and stress.

Paz says the pandemic has proven how resilient students are, and she encourages them to keep working on it. “Being flexible with yourself and others, being optimistic, and leveraging your support systems are just a few tools that can help you build resilience in the face of difficult setbacks,” she says.

“It seems taboo to talk about mental health,” says Angell. “That’s why we have to organize these types of events – if you don’t talk about it, you will burn out. “

Depression screens will be available Thursday, October 7 online (look for the link in your email Thursday morning) and on the Charles River Campus at the GSU link, 775 Comm Ave, from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm Screenings are free. , confidential and open to students, faculty and staff.

Depression Screening Day is sponsored by the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, as well as the Danielsen Institute, Student Health Services Behavioral Medicine and Well-being & Prevention, the Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders, Faculty & Staff Assistance, and Marsh Chapel.

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