EDITORIAL: Go to today’s free depression screening

In light of the recent tragedy in Centennial Court B, this editorial board would like to take a break from its debates on political agendas, university policies and community issues to bring some light to a very important topic for college students: depression.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, nearly half of all college students have reported feeling so depressed at some point in time that they have trouble functioning. Depression, if left untreated, can lead to suicide, which is the second leading cause of death among college students.

That’s why it’s important for students to get out today and participate in National Depression Screening Day between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the second floor lobby of the Student Center. It is sponsored by Kent State’s Psychological Services division of University Health Services.

One thing that may deter students from participating in a depression screening is that they feel they will be judged or are embarrassed to admit they may exhibit signs of depression.

Fortunately, this type of screening is free, confidential and easy.

Students simply fill out a form that screens for conditions such as depression, general anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder, according to Dr. John Schell, clinical psychologist and coordinator of National Depression Screening Day for Kent State.

After the survey is filled out, it is scored and the student has a chance to sit down with a clinician to discuss the results and put forth concerns. This survey shows red flags for mental health issues. Its findings do not constitute a diagnosis.

Because students’ names are not attached to their survey results, the entire process is completely confidential.

The typical turn-out for these kinds of screenings is about 225 people, but Schell hopes to have a larger attendance this year. To try to encourage students to participate, he says there will be giveaways and a raffle for those who attend.

And even if you don’t feel you have depression problems, you can take advantage of the free advice from clinicians.

Schell said nearly 50 percent of students who take advantage of the psychological services offered on campus have reported depression as at least one facet of their concerns.

Please take advantage of this free service, and take a friend with you.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.