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National Depression Screening Day, Mental Illness Week and World Mental Health Day

Targeting Trauma on PTSD Awareness Month October is adorned with efforts that seek to promote awareness. Among those efforts are: Mental Illness Awareness Week, which starts on Sunday (October 4), National Depression Screening Day is observed during the same week (on Thursday, October 8), and World Mental Health Day (Saturday, October 10). According to recent research conducted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, US residents have been experiencing sadness a well as symptoms of anxiety more often than they were prior to the pandemic. On a positive note, the research also states that most people have been discussing issues related to mental health more frequently than before. 

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) reports that approximately 50 percent of the people that are diagnosed with a mental illness display symptoms by the time they are 14 years of age. However, the vast majority (roughly 75 percent) only get professionally diagnosed around the time they turn 24.

Experts at the APA also point out some other factors related to the mental health of young adults, such as excessive use of social media, which paradoxically, can make them feel more isolated and unhappy. Poor nutrition, inadequate sleep habits, academic pressure, and the use of prescription drugs without medical consultation may pose side effects that mimic symptoms of anxiety and depression, also having an impact on young adult mental health.

Some may argue that it would be surprising for individuals to not feel at least slightly depressed or anxious through the course of major adverse global events, such as a pandemic — which unleashes concerns over our finances, physical health, and the wellbeing of our relatives while pushing many into forced isolation. Consequently, there’s an urgent need for increased mental health and depression screenings. 

While undergoing mental health screenings, those who appear to need further attention or display signs of distress should be referred to professionals for additional psychological treatment.

Professionals emphasize that a big problem is that depression, as with other mental health conditions, are not visible, touchable, or easily recognizable. 

Yet, we are aware that the data surrounding those conditions is increasingly alarming. Thus, we should be working together to improve and increase mental health screening practices. 

The information released by the foundation is confirmed and amplified by the World Health Organization — which has published reports from numerous nations that highlight how the current pandemic led to a rise in the number of conditions linked to mental health.

The data and the work behind the efforts taking place this month highlight how mental health is arguably one of the most crucial global concerns. But some additional examples of important efforts scheduled for the month of October surround Autism Awareness, Lupus Awareness, and Breast Cancer Awareness.   

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