The University Record, October 1, 1997

Depression screening available Oct. 9

By Rebecca A. Doyle

Millions of people in the United States suffer from various forms of depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). NIMH and a host of other national organizations have targeted Oct. 9 as National Depression Screening Day.

In connection with this national program, the U-M Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) office and the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program will co-sponsor depression screening 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on the first floor of the Michigan League. A screening test will take approximately 15 minutes and the following interview will take about the same amount of time. Referrals will be made for those who are in need of treatment.

Researchers in the School of Nursing have identified themes in the onset stages of depression and reported their findings in the April issue of the Journal of Orthopsychiatry. Bonnie M. Hagerty, assistant professor of nursing, and her colleagues note that those stages are:

ð Something is not right. Patients reported a general vague feeling of discomfort that they tended to deny and attribute to such factors as weather, stress or other external conditions.

ð Something is really wrong. Patients' symptoms became more standard and focused and they reported inability to sleep, lower energy, inability to concentrate and changes in eating patterns. Some became anxious and began to have thoughts of suicide.

ð The crash. Patients developed one to three specific or pivotal symptoms that signal the beginning of an acute episode of depression. Those are "difficulty with sleep, cognition, personal relationships and physical safety," noted the researchers.

Any U-M faculty, staff or students who think they may recognize in themselves the beginning signals of depression are urged to attend the screening sessions. No appointment is necessary and participants will be interviewed in separate rooms.

For more information, call the CAPS, 764-8312.