CHERISE FORNO / dodgeglobe.com
High gas prices, rising food costs, panic on Wall Street, home foreclosures, and an uncertain future may have many Dodge City residents feeling depressed, anxious and irritable.
While feeling stressed and worried at times is normal, these feelings can get out of control and prevent people from living a full and happy life.
The 18th annual National Depression Screening Day — scheduled for Friday — aims to help.
More than 1,000 primary care providers, colleges and other organizations across the country will offer free, anonymous mental health screenings Friday to help people recognize the warning signs of depression and talk with a professional about ways to manage symptoms.
"According to a recent survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, as many as 80 percent of Americans are stressed about their personal finances and the economy," said Katherine Cruise, director of communications and marketing for Screening for Mental Health Inc. "National Depression Screening Day is an opportunity to find out if what you are feeling is a normal reaction to negative live events or a more serious issue, such as clinical depression."
While the closest official screening location is in Hutchinson, the Area Mental Health Center in Dodge City offers several counseling and support programs for locals who need help dealing with depression and other common health issues.
"If someone starts experiencing a change in sleep patterns, eating habits or moods, then they really need to look at our outpatient services and talk to someone," said Paul Rust, a teen and adult leader at the center.
Rust said it is important to be screened by a clinician, then decide which service will be most beneficial. A case manager can help people control their symptoms of depression and identify what triggers their negative emotions.
In some cases, individual or group counseling may be the best way to manage depression, while medication and one-on-one help with adjusting to daily life might be needed for others.
Depression affects nearly 19 million people in the U.S., or about 10 percent of the adult population, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
This problem affects people of every race, age and economic class, including men.
In the United States, approximately 6 million men suffer from depression, and four times more men than women die from suicide.
Early detection and treatment can help prevent suicide in men, women and teenagers. Screening for Mental Health Inc. estimates that more than 80 percent of people diagnosed with clinical depression can be successfully treated and return to the activities and life they enjoy.
For more information about National Depression Screening Day, to locate a site that is offering screening on Friday or to take a screening online, visit www.mentalhealthscreening.org.