Depression is often referred to as a silent illness. There are often no tell signs of depression and more often than not people are less likely to express themselves when they are dealing with depression. For these reasons, a lot of primary care physicians suggest their patients participate in a depression screening test.
Mental illness affects one in four people worldwide. The lack of psychiatrists and mental health professionals has sparked a bit of controversy in the mental health space, so it’s up to our primary care providers to serve as our first line of defense in helping us diagnose some of the mental illnesses that we might not even realize we might have.
In honor of National Depression Screening Day, we’re going to discuss the importance of depression screen testing and how it could help promote our mental health.
What Is a Depression Screening Test?
A depression screening test is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether a person has any signs or symptoms of depression by asking a series of questions related to this illness. If the screening test comes out positive for depression, then further evaluation is needed to confirm that the results are accurate.
Common psychological depressive symptoms include:
- Being extremely emotional or lacking emotions
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Uninterested in activities like sex, hobbies or sports
- Recurrent thoughts of suicide
Other non-psychological symptoms of depression are among the following:
- Sleeping more than usual or not enough
- Lack of energy
- Constantly feeling tired
- Sudden weight gain or weight loss
- Back pains, headaches or other physical symptoms
When you visit the doctor’s office and complain about a number of the physiological symptoms that are associated with depression, your primary care physician will either ask you to explain these symptoms further to get to the root of your problem or ask you to participate in a depression screening test.
What Can You Expect When Taking a Depression Screening Test?
Screening for mental health issues has become the responsibility of the primary care practitioners and when they ask you to take a screening test, you can expect one that resembles a survey or questionnaire.
It is a fairly quick test that asks you a series of questions ranging from, “Are you satisfied with your life?” to “Do you feel like your situation is hopeless?” At the end of the screening test, if the test indicates that you have symptoms consistent with depression or another disorder, then you will be encouraged to seek additional help from a professional and provided with referral information.
Screening for depression or other mental health disorders is just as imperative as diabetes or high blood pressure. Mental health screenings serve as the first step to getting help. Clinical depression is not only a serious mental illness, but it can also lead to a loss of a life and cause complications with other medical conditions.
If you feel like someone you love might be struggling with depression, ask them to take a depression screening test for free at the Mental Health America website or seek professional help from your doctor.