UCC to offer depression screening Thursday

Students and employees will have the opportunity to talk to University Counseling Center staff about the warning signs of depression Thursday afternoon in the Marvin Center, from noon to 2 p.m.

The event, part of National Depression Screening Day, is co-sponsored by the Epsilon Sigma Alpha sorority. Screenings will take place on the first floor of the Marvin Center in suite 101.

Psychologists will be on hand to provide information to students about depression, and UCC staff will be available to answer questions students may have. The confidential screenings are free.

“If you’ve had the blues, or you’re feeling bad or you have low energy and you’re interested in finding out more about whether you might be depressed, this will provide information that might help you get the help you need,” said Dr. John Dages, associate director of the Counseling Center.

The screening event, Dages said, is part of “broad-based awareness campaign” to promote mental health on campus.

The depression screening process involves asking questions about energy levels, sleep patterns, interest levels, feelings of worth and suicidal thoughts. The Counseling Center also offers screenings and information online, at http://www.gwired.gwu.edu/counsel.

“The idea here is to provide information and awareness to the GW community about depression and suicide,” Dages said. “This is a preventive program, where faculty, staff and students can find out more about the signs and symptoms, and how they might be able to help others as well who might be suffering.”

Dages clarified that Thursday’s screening is not a diagnosis session and is meant to provide information. Students who think they suffer from depression will be able to receive referrals to get further treatment.

Eight to 12 percent of all males will experience depression in their lifetime, Dages said, while 20 to 26 percent of all females will have similar feelings. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15 to 24-year-olds, and at any given time, about 6 percent of the population suffers from major depression, he said.

While females are three times as likely as males to attempt suicide, males are four times as likely to actually follow through in killing themselves.

“Suicidality really is a symptom of depression, and it bears some focus here,” Dages said. We’re starting this campaign on suicide awareness and prevention … and giving out information so people who may need help will get help they need.”

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