Studies show 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men will experience depression at some point in their lives, and, unfortunately, over two-thirds of those suffering from this illness will never seek treatment, according to a press release recently issued by the Central Wyoming Counseling Center (CWCC).

CWCC will provide free depression screenings to the public during the month of October.

Why Get Screened?

Health screenings provide a quick and easy way to spot the first signs of illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure; these screenings work the same way for depression. Additionally, screenings can educate people who might not otherwise seek professional clinical advice. During October, people can receive confidential depression screening and private consultation with a licensed therapist at no cost to the individual, insurance, or the community through CWCC.

Although screenings are not a diagnosis, they can often point out the presence or absence of depressive symptoms and provide referrals, if needed. People with depression often believe that their symptoms are a “normal part of life.” Clinical depression, however, is a serious medical illness; and can lead to suicide. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and in 2014, Wyoming ranked 4th in the nation for suicide rate, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

What is Depression?

Some key symptoms of depression are: persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood; sleeping too little, early morning awakening, or sleeping too much; distancing yourself from friends and family; reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain; loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed; restlessness or irritability; difficulty in making decisions; problems concentrating or remembering; fatigue or loss of energy; as well as thoughts of death or suicide.

Post-partum Depression

Some women experience post-partum depression after childbirth. While many new moms experience “the baby blues,” a short-term condition that includes sadness, irritability, mood swings, and trouble sleeping, some women have a more severe, long-lasting sadness known as post-partum depression. This condition involves more intense symptoms and lasts much longer; it can also interfere with a woman’s ability to care for her baby and handle daily tasks.

How Do I Get Screened?

People living in Casper who are experiencing symptoms of depression are encouraged to take part in the free screenings happening at CWCC during October. Participants will learn about depression and complete a confidential written screening. They will discuss the results of their screening with one of CWCC’s mental health professionals and will receive educational materials on depression and other mood disorders.

To get your free screening, go to CWCC, located at1430 Wilkins Circle in Casper, Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 2pm.

Additionally, CWCC will provide free, private and confidential depression screenings during this weekend’s Wyoming Women’s Expo on Friday, September 30th from 4:00-8:30 pm and on Saturday, October 1st from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Casper Events Center. Other health screenings by various providers will also be available, including cancer, bone density, blood pressure, and A1C screenings.

Depression is a serious health matter. Whether you’re pregnant or not, have had a baby or not, this illness can affect you. Find out if you’re one of the more than 15 million people in America who experience depression – get your free screening in October. Call CWCC to learn more: 307-237-9583.