National Depression Screening Day

PEN and Counseling Center team up to help students identify depression

Morgan Stough, Staff Writer

WSC students were able to take a short test determining if they showed symptoms of depression. The Counseling Center and Peer Education Network (PEN) held these screenings on Thursday.

The screenings were held in tandem with National Depression Screening Day, which was on Oct. 5. WSC PEN decided to hold its screening day at the end of October because of the effects the end of the semester can have on college students.

“As we approach the season change and the second half of the semester, we want to be sure that students are taking care of themselves,” counselor and WSC PEN adviser Karen Granberg said.

Granberg also said that because depression is so common in college students (30 percent of college students are diagnosed with depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health) they wanted to make it easier to seek help.

“It’s hard to come in. A screening is a big deal because it gives students a chance to say ‘Okay, I’ll give this a chance,’” Granberg said.

The Beck Depression Inventory, a test developed in the late ‘90s, was used for the screenings. The test consists of 21 statements describing how a person has felt in the past two weeks. The answers are scored, and the score indicates the severity of depression.

Granberg said that many students who have depression also have a high risk of anxiety or vice versa.

“The companion to depression is anxiety,” said Granberg. “Sometimes anxiety can result in depression if you have a lot of anxious energy loss.”

Granberg said many people dealing with depression and anxiety will turn to self-medication and substance abuse before talking to a professional. The screenings were intended to open a conversation about mental health and to encourage seeking help.

“We have five counselors and a consulting psychologist on staff to help assess and treat depression,” Granberg said. “We also have Student Health that can help with the possible need for medication.”

While antidepressants are a fairly common resource,- about 1 in 10 people take antidepressants-Granberg encourages taking advantage of the counseling services first.

“Not everybody needs medication, but everyone needs someone to talk to,” she said.

In addition to treatment for anxiety and depression, the Counseling Center also offers help for substance abuse, eating disorders and transitional issues.

The Counseling Center services hope to put on more screenings in the upcoming semester for anxiety, eating issues and substance abuse.