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Importance of Depression Screenings

Screening for depression is an effective way to determine if someone might be feeling depressed or at risk of depression. Depression screenings can be used to help prevent a developing crisis, identifying potential problems early so they can be addressed in the most appropriate ways.

Depression is one of the most common mental health problems in America. It can present with a range of symptoms, from struggling with feelings of sadness to no longer enjoying things you used to take pleasure in. If you think you might be experiencing depression, a depression screening is the first step to finding the right solution. Once depression has been diagnosed, it can be treated in a number of ways.

What Are Depression Screenings?

A depression screening is used to determine if someone is experiencing the symptoms of depression. It consists of a series of questions or tasks that the participant is asked to complete. The results are then assessed to determine what the person is experiencing and help diagnose a number of mental health conditions. Depression screenings can be useful in identifying conditions like major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.

There are different depression screenings that might be used to identify depression symptoms. One of the common options is Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), which is a standard way to measure the severity, frequency and duration of depression symptoms. Other depression screenings that might be used include the Beck Depression Inventory, the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale, and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, which is used to assess postpartum depression.

What Do Depression Screenings Look For?

Depression screenings are designed to look for the common symptoms of depression. These include:

  • Feeling down or hopeless.
  • Taking little pleasure or being uninterested in doing things.
  • Difficulties sleeping.
  • Lacking appetite or overeating.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicidal ideation.

Why Are Depression Screenings Important?

Depression screenings are an important diagnostic tool that can be used to identify major depression and other mental health conditions that cause feelings of depression. Depression is very treatable but it first needs to be diagnosed before the right treatment can be found. Treating depression can help people feel more balanced and allow them to cope better with day-to-day living. Determining whether someone is experiencing clinical depression requires careful assessment, and it’s essential to make the right diagnosis so that the best treatment can be provided.

Depression can lead to a variety of emotional, psychological and even physical problems in your life. If it's left untreated, it can negatively affect your health and your life in multiple ways. Undergoing a depression screening is the first step to getting professional help for depression and other mental health issues. Once the screening has been carried out, the next step is to find the right treatment. 

Who Can Get a Depression Screening?

Anyone can get a depression screening. They are intended to assess the symptoms associated with depression and there's no threshold to meet or specific circumstances where a depression screening is used. If you feel that you could be experiencing any of the symptoms of depression, a depression screening could be useful for you. Depression can even be experienced together with other mental health conditions, including substance use disorder (SUD).

When Should You Have a Depression Screening?

Knowing when to ask for help with your mental health can be difficult. It's sometimes easy to dismiss what you're feeling or feel that you don't need help. Perhaps you're unsure if you're overexaggerating or you don't even recognize what you're feeling could be symptoms of depression. So, deciding when you should ask for a depression screening can be tough. However, there are a few things you can consider if you're wondering whether or not you should be assessed for depression.

The first thing you should do is listen to your own thoughts and feelings. It's not always easy to trust yourself and your assessment of how you're feeling. However, if you feel like you have been struggling, ignoring your feelings isn't going to make them go away. It can be hard to admit to yourself that you're not doing very well, but it's an important first step to getting the help you need. Being ready to accept help may not be immediate, either, but it helps to know that there is help available when you need it.

Recognizing the signs of depression will help you determine whether you could be depressed. Take a look at the symptoms above and think carefully about whether you recognize any of them in yourself. Try also taking our online quiz for a quick way to see if you might be experiencing some common symptoms. The results are not a diagnosis, but they can help you gain an understanding of whether a formal depression screening might be helpful to you.

What Happens After a Depression Screening?

After a depression screening, the next steps are to find the right diagnosis and the right treatment. The results might help to inform a diagnosis of major depression or other depressive disorders, or they could suggest that you are not dealing with clinical depression. However, the next step is to have a full evaluation that will take a more in-depth look at your symptoms and experiences and can result in a full diagnosis. A depression screening can only begin to indicate whether you might have depression, but a doctor can explore this further.

There are various treatments that can be used to treat depression, including medication and different types of therapy. Types of therapy can include psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Some common medications that are prescribed for depression include SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors). Many people can benefit from taking medication for depression, although not everyone feels that it's useful for them. Medication and therapy are often combined to help produce the best results.

Depression screenings are an important tool for both medical professionals and individuals to assess depression symptoms. If you think you might have depression, find a mental health professional who can help diagnose and treat you. Contact Jackson House at (888)-255-9280 and learn how we can help you manage depression and find hope today.

About the author

Jackson House

Jackson House

We built Jackson House because we realized there was a critical gap in our healthcare system and many individuals with mental illnesses and substance abuse problems were struggling because of it. While there are many outpatient treatment options and locked, inpatient facilities there was nothing in the middle. Nothing to help people who needed around the clock care but wanted to receive treatment voluntarily, on their own terms. Jackson House is different. We provide clients with the level of care they need in a welcoming environment. When you walk through our doors, we will meet you wherever you’re at and help you on your journey toward feeling better.

It's time to feel better

We are here to help and we are in-network with most insurance providers. Call us for a free and confidential consultation.

If you’re a provider and need to send us information on a client, please feel free to fax us at 619-303-7044. If you need help immediately, call our 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-766-4274. If you have a medical emergency, call 911. Jackson House is licensed by the State of California Community Care Licensing Division and certified by the Department of Health Care Services. We are also CARF Accredited. If you have any client or quality of care concerns, please reach out to us at (888) 255-9280. If your concerns need further attention, you can contact the Department of Public Health at 619-278-3700 or the Community Care Licensing Division at 1-844-538-8766.