More students are asking for help to deal with depression

More GW students are seeking depression screenings, both online and in person, according to officials at the University Counseling Center.

John Dages, senior associate director of the UCC, said 30 percent of the 6,000 students who used UCC counseling services last year had issues related to depression. He said the late fall is typically the peak time when GW students seek help at the UCC.

“From Labor Day through Thanksgiving, students have no break. Freshmen in particular haven’t developed the coping skills and can feel hopeless when they are being academically challenged during midterms,” Dages said.

Sophomores generally seek the most help from UCC because freshman year students are given a lot of support with programs such as Colonial Inauguration. Sophomores are not overlooked but things are not as in-place and structured, Dages said.

More than 1,000 students have used the UCC’s online depression screening, which allows users to “self assess in private and come to terms with his or her own signs and symptoms,” Dages said. UCC has offered online screening for a little more than a year.

UCC screened 30 students at the national depression screening day in October, one of which was found suicidal and received treatment after the event.

GW Community Counseling Services Center now offers free depression screenings every week. Second year counseling students with specialized training in providing depression screenings work with students, faculty, staff and community members on Mondays from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Marvin Center. Alcohol screenings are also available.

The CCSC is a training site for student interns in the counseling program in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Students also have access to the UCC, in which a wide variety of individual and group counseling services are provided by licensed psychologists.

UCC offers one free counseling session to students, and subsequent sessions are $50 each. CCSC counseling sessions are $10 each, and the first session is also free.

“Many GW students report that they feel a greater rapport with student interns that are five or six years older than them,” said Monica Megivern, director of CCSC.

“We’ll have to wait and see how successful the weekly depression screening is depending on how many students participate,” Dages said. “It’s a good thing to be offering it to the community as well.”

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