KSU Psychological Services wins award for online screening test

Amanda Knauer

Winter blues: Are you suffering from SAD?

Signs of depression can also be signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

SAD is prevalent around this time of year because of the lack of sunlight, said Alanna Updegraff, assistant professor and director of the department of Psychology.

SAD is a combination of physical and psychological symptoms, said John Schell, senior psychologist at University Health Services.

An online screening test offered by Psychological Services will point out both physical and psychological signs. The test is a questionnaire students can use to answer questions about mental health problems and receive feedback on their response.

Once students seek help, talk to clinical psychologists and describe their symptoms, Schell said, it is possible the student could be suffering from SAD, especially if they are struggling in the winter.

Updegraff stressed that SAD is not just feeling down because it is a little grey and cold outside. The disorder involves greater impairment and stress over a longer period of time. She said when students begin feeling like this, it is important to seek professional help.

Schell said SAD tends to affect women more than men.

In order to cope with SAD, Updegraff suggests remedies that work for multiple types of depression.

“Good self-care is the best defense,” Updegraff said. “Eating well and healthy, exercising, sleeping. If you’re feeling down, doing something to distract yourself or engage yourself.”

For SAD specifically, Schell said light boxes are an option for students, and there is one available to students in the Women’s Center.

“There are studies that suggest that being exposed to certain wavelengths of light can be very helpful during the darker winter months,” Schell said.


University Health Services, Psychological Services

DeWeese Health Center, 2nd Floor

(330) 672-2487


Psychological Clinic

Kent Hall, Room 176

(330) 672-2372


Counseling and Human Development Center

White Hall, Room 325

(330) 672-2208


Townhall II 24 hour Crisis Line

(330) 678-HELP

The University Health Center’s Psychological Services was awarded in November for having one of the top ten most utilized CollegeResponse mental health screening sites testing for signs of anxiety, mood disorders and depression.

CollegeResponse is an organization that is part of Screening for Mental Health, which sponsors National Depression Screening Day.

“We started the online screening test this past September, and it’s going to be available throughout the whole academic year,” said John Schell, senior psychologist for University Health Services. “We’re hoping that we will be able to continue that in subsequent years as well.”

The test spiraled out of National Depression Screening Day, which takes place yearly in October. This day is a chance for students to meet one-on-one with clinicians, which the award also recognized, Schell said.

“Students are able to answer some questions about depression, mood disorders and anxiety and then get some feedback,” Schell said. “Depending on their scores, students can see if they would benefit from talking to somebody or take advantage of the resources that are provided to them, so they know where to call and how to follow up appropriately.”

The online screening offered test offered by University Health Services allows students to confidentially seek help all year long, 24-hours a day.

“The online screening test highlights the fact that mental health awareness isn’t limited to just one day,” Schell said. “It’s something that we want to promote and encourage throughout the whole year. So making it available all year simply makes sense.”

The department looked to expand the awareness of college mental health screening to other campuses and students, and now the Stark regional campus recognizes NDSD, Schell said.

Schell said it is important for students to realize that resources are available to help them stay healthy.

“We are very pleased to be recognized by this award,” Schell said, “primarily because it underscores the importance of college mental health and reaffirms the work that we do on campus; reaching out to students and trying to educate them about depression and other mental health conditions.”

The online screening can be found at www.mentalhealthscreening.org.

Contact Amanda Knauer at [email protected].