Depression screening should not be brushed off by students

Lee-Anna Bardun

Depression screening is not just for students who think they have mental health issues.

Getting screened for depression is something students might be embarrassed about, said junior graphic design major Laura Guardalabene.

“It’s hard for people to admit they have a problem,” she said.


&bull 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. today Student Center, second floor.

&bull The screening is free and any student can attend, said John Schell, a clinical psychologist with University Psychological Services. After the screening, a clinician will talk with each student about his or her results and whether he or she has any concerns.

Guardalabene said she has felt depressed before, like many other students. She said she remembers going through a difficult time when she was in high school and had to switch from a Catholic to a public school.

National Depression Screening Day is about helping those students who think they may have a problem and learning more about mental health, said John Schell, a clinical psychologist with University Psychological Services.

Schell said by detecting depression and other mental health issues in early stages, people might be less likely to have more serious problems in the future.

“By learning about it (depression) today, they (students) may learn how to cope with stress and deal with things in a more effective fashion so that they don’t have problems down the road,” Schell said.

A lot of factors can cause depression, Schell said.

“Some of the issues are more deep-rooted and long-standing and are issues that a person may be dealing with since adolescence, potentially stemming from self-esteem issues, relationship issues, issues with friends or school,” he said. “Sometimes those issues come with them (students) to college.”

It can be really difficult to make friends understand depression, said Amber Battaglia, freshman integrated language arts major, who had depression. She said depression could impact students’ school performances as well.

“It’s a really big factor because you’re not concentrating on school work,” she said. “You are constantly putting yourself down, and you don’t believe in yourself.”

Depression and mental health issues are starting to become more popular, especially at colleges, Schell said.

“Awareness of college mental health and its relation to student success and retention has become more of an important issue on campuses across the country,” Schell said. “It’s important for administration and faculty to understand, but it’s important for students as well.”

Jeremy Pytel, sophomore art education major, said he has had anxiety before, but he’s never thought it was a problem for him.

Pytel was screened last year and said he was glad to see he didn’t have any problems. He went to the screening just out of curiosity; he was hanging out at the Student Center while the event was going on. It didn’t take long, he said.

However, not all students are marking their calendars for National Depression Screening Day.

“A lot of people just assume they aren’t depressed and don’t need to be screened,” Pytel said.

The purpose of NDSD is more than just helping students catch mental disorders early; it is about spreading information across campus about the importance of mental health, Schell said.

“It’s a day of awareness, to make students aware of mental health conditions and how they relate to student success academically and also in terms of the quality of their lives,” Schell said.

Schell said University Psychological Services will team up with clinicians from the Psychological Clinic and the Counseling and Human Development Center for the screening event. They want to encourage and attract as many people to the event as possible, he said.

Contact student life reporter Lee-Anna Bardun at [email protected]