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Oct. 7 is National Depression Screening Day

Portland therapist Chelsea Mier said families should speak openly about their mental health struggles to help eliminate the stigma around depression.

PORTLAND, Ore. — October 7 is National Depression Screening Day, which is meant to raise awareness about the disease. According to the World Health Organization, a round 4% of the population experiences depression, but it can be tough to know the difference between feeling down or something more serious like depression.  

Portland therapist Chelsea Mier said during a depression screening, a health care provider will ask questions to determine if someone has symptoms of the disease. According to Mier, symptoms include withdrawing from the activities and people you once enjoyed, a change in eating and sleeping patterns, and a change in dialogue, which can mean negative views on the world or feelings of hopelessness. 

Most of the symptoms for children are the same and Mier said it's good for parents to speak openly about mental health with their kids.

"Research is showing us that depression is increasing particularly in young people," Mier said. "There is also some good research to show that there is some correlations between how much social media exposure young people get, and how that impacts depression and anxiety."

Mier said there's a stigma surrounding depression, which can be a huge barrier for people needing help. Parents can break the stigma by speaking to their children about their own struggles with their mental health.

Parents interested in a depression screening can contact their primary care provider or their child's pediatrician. Those who live in Multnomah County can also call the county's mental health call center at 503-988-4888. The call center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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