Mental illness, not to be taken lightly

SC4 holds free mental health screening
Melanie Buskirk
Staff Writer

This past Oct. 9, the National Depression Screening Day and free mental health screening, provided by McLaren Health Systems took place in SC4’s college center.
According to MLHS’s volunteer and mental health experts Sharon Hardy and Karen Zisler, over 200 people from the community showed up to last year’s health screening.
National Depression Screening Day, a voluntary mental health screening initiative, has been held annually during Mental Illness Awareness Week every Oct. since 1991, with the local community participating for the last twelve years. Most of these screenings are held on college campuses across the nation, where many people need it the most.
Studies by the American College Health Association show that more than 1 in 4 college students have a diagnosable mental illness, with over 11% of students being treated for anxiety and over 10% of students being treated for depression. However, according to the same studies, 40% of college students with diagnosable illnesses did not seek help due to the concern for the stigma attached with mental illness.
This leads to a serious issue, with almost 7% of college students reporting that they have seriously considered suicide within the past year. Results like this are the reason why Screening for Mental Health, Inc., the founders of National Depression Screening Day have the mission statement of, “Raising public awareness of behavioral and mental health issues and working to reduce stigma.”
College students aren’t the only ones who suffer mental illnesses. When asked about the typical person participating in the free depression screening, Hardy responded, “I would never use typical and depression in the same sentence.”
Anyone can suffer from depression, no matter their age, race, education, or background. Depression is the number one cause of suicide, and hundreds of thousands of people attempt suicide each year. According to Hardy, this tragedy is preventable.
If you or someone you know is depressed or contemplating suicide, there are ways to get help. The St. Clair County Community Mental Health Crisis Line is open 24 hours a day toll-free at (888)-225-4447 or by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Talking to your doctor or health care provider can also help. There are a lot of things to be scared of this Halloween, don’t let getting help for your mental wellbeing be one of them.

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