The Daily Illini

Colleges nationwide recognize National Depression Screening Day

The Screening for Mental Health, SMH, is urging the public to learn about the warning signs of suicide, as well as steps people can take in order to prevent suicide, in recognition of National Depression Screening Day.

The campaign is held annually on October 6, and its goal is to raise awareness for mood disorders and provide free, anonymous mental health screenings. The focus this year is to bring awareness to depression and reiterate a need for everyone to be actively involved in suicide prevention.

Colleges across the country are going to host events and offer online screenings on this day.

Mya Khoury,  junior in LAS, said she strongly supports the idea of on campus mental health help.

“I feel like there are a ton of people with depression and mental health (issues),” Khoury said. “People look down upon it and there’s a lot of resources on campus but people still won’t go mainly because of pressure from friends.”

SMH as a corporation provides large scale mental health screening to the public, as well as innovative mental health and substance abuse resources.

Charlie Iantorno, senior in Business, said that he thinks it is important to take action and help those with mental health issues.

“There’s not a clear answer for why people have mental health issues and the individual needs direct attention and personal connection,” Iantorno said. “There’s a lot of stigma and improper associations.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the suicide rate in the United States increased 24 percent from 1999 to 2014.

Over 30 percent of college students reported feeling depressed over the course of the school year, according to the National College Health Assessment. 

The anonymous and confidential screening aspect of this campaign can help students recognize thoughts or behaviors associated with depression, generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder and post traumatic stress disorder.

Kelsey Goll, a freshman in Molecular and Cellular Biology, said she thinks there is a stigma with mental health issues.

“A lot of people have the stigma that mental health issues are not acceptable. Which makes it hard to get help,” Goll said. “People should be more supportive about it.”

Sabrina Yan and Olivia Okocha contributed to this report. 

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