Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, October 8, 2009

MHealthy offering online mental health screenings

Take an online mental health screening at www.mhealthy.umich.edu/understandingu/screen/index.htm

More than 20 million people in the United States — approximately one in 15 — suffer from depression, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Today is National Depression Screening Day and in support of that MHealthy Understanding U is offering online mental health screenings for depression and other common mental health conditions.

The online screenings are available anytime and are a simple way for university faculty and staff to check their symptoms and find out where to go for help if further assistance is needed.

“Depression interferes with a person’s daily life, including going to work, taking care of your children, and having relationships with family and friends,” says Tom Waldecker, director of the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FASAP). “The online screening can be done in the privacy of your home, and is an easy way to determine whether you could be coping with depression and may be in need of further assistance.”

In addition to depression, screenings also are available for bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, alcohol misuse, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The screening instruments are provided by Screening for Mental Health, a non-profit agency, on its Web site, and all information is secure, confidential, and completely anonymous. Participants will receive an immediate result at the end of each screening that can be printed and taken to a counselor for further evaluation if necessary.

Confidential, in-person depression screenings also will be available today through the U-M Health System’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at its offices at D2101 Medical Professional Building.

“We’re fortunate that programs exist to help us recognize and cope with how life’s stressors and events may be affecting our mental and emotional well-being,” says Kathleen Robertson, manager of UMHS EAP. “Depression and other mental health screenings are as important as screenings for heart disease and diabetes and should be a routine part of our health care.”

Short-term counseling for university faculty and staff is always available. Campus and Flint employees can contact FASAP at 936-8660 or by e-mailing fasap@umich.edu. UMHS employees can contact EAP at 763-5409 or email eap@umich.edu. Dearborn employees can call 313-593-5430.

MHealthy Understanding U also is sponsoring the Fourth Annual Symposium on Mental Health in the Workplace on Oct. 21 as part of the U-M Council on Disability Concerns: Investing in Ability Week. This year’s topic — “Anxiety Disorders in the Workplace: What Are They and How Do They Influence the Workplace?” — will be presented by Joe Himle, associate director of the Stress and Anxiety Disorders Program.

The event is free and will be at Palmer Commons from 10–11:30 a.m. For more information, go to www.med.umich.edu/abilities/events.htm.