As part of National Depression Screening Day, Oct. 11, free depression
screenings will be offered by the staff of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Clinical Trials Program and The Fuqua Center for Late-Life Depression
from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The screenings will take place on the fourth floor of Wesley Woods Health
Center, at 1841 Clifton Road, which is where both entities are located.
No appointment is necessary, and the screenings are anonymous and can
be completed in about 30 minutes.
The Fuqua Center has performed these screenings since its inception in
1999, and the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Clinical Trials Program, has
been participating for even longer, but this is the first time the two
have worked in tandem. The Emory Well House also is offering screenings
by appointment, and will be holding four depression awareness InfoStops
throughout the month.
Were really excited because this gives us a chance to hit
the entire age range from 18 on up, said Jeff Kelsey, assistant
professor of psychology and behavioral sciences. Kelsey will be among
the half-dozen or so health care professionals performing screenings.
The goal is to provide a free, easy, accessible screening,
he said. If people believe that depression may be an issue for them,
this gives them a chance to come in and have the opportunity to speak
with a trained mental health professional.
National Depression Screening Day is held each year during Mental Illness
Awareness Week, which is designed to call attention to the illnesses of
depression and manic depression, to educate the public about symptoms
and treatments, to offer people the opportunity to be screened for the
disorders, and to connect those in need of treatment to mental health
Visitors will asked to complete a questionnaire that asks whether they
have experienced certain depression-like symptoms over the previous two
weeks. Symptoms include poor appetite, hopelessness, difficulty concentrating
or making decisions, thoughts of suicide and fatigue.
Should the respondent show signs of depression, a health care professional
would review treatment options and set up an appropriate referral. On
this initial meeting, visitors do not have to give their namesonly
their initialsand they will be assigned an ID number.
Kelsey said as many as 70 people have turned out for previous screenings,
and between two-thirds and 75 percent have received additional treatment
for depression or a related ailment.
We see this as a public service, Kelsey said. We can
give something back to the community and offer our expertise so that people
can take advantage.
While both younger and older people can suffer from depression, the Fuqua
Center specializes in treating older adults.
Bill McDonald, associate professor of psychiatry, said depression in older
adults differs from that in younger people in three ways: physical ailments
such as arthritis often accompany it; there are cognitive problems that
may resemble dementia; and older people are often more anxious or nervous.
But if you look at those symptoms, none would lead a person to go
to a doctor for depression, McDonald said. The larger challenge
is getting them to admit that they are depressed, because that is generally
not part of an older persons vocabulary, said Eve Byrd, Fuquas
Because of this aversion to seeking treatment, older adults who believe
they may be suffering from depression are encouraged to visit Fuquas
website at fuqua.emoryhealthcare.org. It contains an online questionnaire
similar to the one that will be distributed on Thursday at Wesley Woods.
On that website, you can do a confidential depression screening,
and it can actually lead you to where you could seek treatment in your
area, Byrd said.
For more information on National Depression Screening Day, call 404-778-8968
or visit www.emoryclinicaltrials.com.