Depression screenings aim for early detection, treatment

    Thursday marks National Depression Screening Day, which aims to raise awareness for this mood disorder, and screen people for its symptoms.

    Belmont Behavioral Health offered free screenings outside a Supermarket on Monument Road in Philadelphia.

    Psychiatrist Sachin Mehta, who directs the mood disorders program at Belmont Center for Comprehensive Treatment, said depression affects one in 10 Americans. He says depression can be a very serious illness, but it’s also treatable. “It is important to recognize it so that people can get treatment early,” Mehta said.

    Mehta explained that a basic screening for depression is fairly simple. People are asked whether they have felt sad for prolonged periods of time, or have trouble concentrating. Other warning signs include loss of interest in every-day activities, and changes in sleeping and eating habits.

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    Stigma remains a barrier to those accessing treatment, Mehta said, adding that people should keep in mind that depression is a brain disorder, and not a sign of weakness.

    Mehta added that with a combination of medications and talk therapy, about 50 percent of people receiving treatment for depression get better.

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