October was National Depression Screening month. The goal is to bring awareness to the prevalence of depression and to reduce the stigma so that individuals feel comfortable seeking help. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 6.7% of adults in the United States suffer from major depressive disorder in a given year. That is over 16 million adults just in our country.
Depression is no stranger to one of the patients we served recently. He came in very depressed to the point he indicated he had considered taking his own life. Our doctor was able to prescribe some medication to help. We created a safety plan with the patient and discussed talk therapy options. He was very open about some of the stresses he was experiencing.
One month later, his life is filled with a lot more hope. A new job has brought a more uplifting work environment. He is seeing his counselor regularly and working through root issues from childhood. He has ended a toxic relationship that was adding to the strain of his mental health. He is taking his medications regularly. Even over the phone in a follow-up, his voice sounded so much more upbeat. He is no longer considering ending his life and has hope for his future.
We know that some patients we serve are suffering from depression but may not even recognize the signs. Masters level students from Mount Mercy University’s Marriage and Family Therapy program provided free depression screenings to our patients on October 25th. For those whose screening indicated depressive symptoms, counseling referrals were made to their clinic. The clinic operates on a sliding scale fee, which is incredibly helpful for our patients who are uninsured. Most therapy sessions are well over $100 for a one-hour session, but Mount Mercy’s marriage and family therapy grad students offer these services to the community at a small fraction of that cost.
Thank you for your support of our clinic. Your support is directly impacting lives in our community. For one of our patients, your support enabled us to assist him through a mental health crisis and work towards stability. We know that many are still silently suffering from depression in our community. If someone you know confides in you, remember that a listening ear, a compassionate heart, and helping them to connect with professionals can have a huge impact!
Amy DeLay, Patient Advocate