Health Center to offer free depression screenings Oct. 9

Oct 2nd, 2008 | By | Category: Campus News, October 2, 2008

Counseling and Psychological Services of the University Health Center and the Employee Assistance Program at UNL will offer free, confidential screenings for a range of common emotional conditions Oct. 9 in accordance with National Depression Screening Day.

The screenings will be offered 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Nebraska Union, and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the East Union to all UNL faculty, staff and students. Students who complete the screening will be entered into a raffle for an iPod Touch.

Every academic year millions of students are affected by depression, anxiety or related mental health issues. Yet social stigma, confusion and a simple lack of knowledge of the resources available prevent many from seeking the help they need. Depression is more than just a bad day, the result of a bad grade or a little anxiety about the future; it is a treatable disorder and some of the symptoms of clinical depression include:

• Persistent, sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
• Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, helplessness and worthlessness
• Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities, ranging from schoolwork to sex
• Sleeping too much or too little
• Changes in appetite
• Decreased energy, fatigue, and feeling “slowed down”
• Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
• Increased restlessness and irritability
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
• Physical symptoms such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain that do not respond to medical treatment

Screenings for depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder will be available for National Depression Screening Day. At the screening, individuals can fill out a self-test and speak with a counselor about their personal situations. Those who don’t have a mood or anxiety disorder and are just going through a couple of bad days are invited to take advantage of the program and learn about what services are available on campus.

“This is a program that can really make a difference in the lives of our students, faculty, and staff,” said Dr. Bob Portnoy, coordinator of the screening program and director of Counseling and Psychological Services at the University Health Center. “By helping people at UNL to better recognize the signs and symptoms associated with depression and other disorders, we can increase the likelihood of getting them to follow-up assessments that can lead to often life-saving treatment. At a minimum, treatment can also alleviate considerable emotional pain and suffering.”

Counseling and Psychological Services also offers year-round online screenings for UNL students in the areas of depression, manic depression, anxiety, eating disorders and alcohol use for those who cannot attend the in-person screenings. Online screenings are available at On completion of the screening, individuals can schedule an appointment with one of the counselors in Counseling and Psychological Services to go over the results and develop a treatment plan.

For more information about National Depression Screening Day, call 472-7450.

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