Mental health professionals from the University of Tennessee will offer

local residents the opportunity to learn about the signs and symptoms of

depression and participate in a free screening as part of National Depression

Screening Day.

The Student Counseling Services Center will hold free screenings Thursday

from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the University Center, room 221.

"Come in anytime during hours of the clinic," invited Ann O'Conner-Slimp

of the Counseling Center. "We will have mental health professionals

available throughout the day."

Participants will watch a video about the signs and symptoms of depression,

complete a short screening test and have the opportunity to discuss the

test results with a professional. The process should take about 30 minutes,

O'Conner-Slimp said.

National Depression Screening Day, held each year during Mental Illness

Awareness Week, was developed by Harvard psychiatrist Douglas Jacobs, who

now serves as the day's event director. Last year, more than 85,000 people

attended screenings at 2,800 sites nationwide.

Of the 17 million Americans who experience depression each year, the

National Institute of Mental Health estimates fewer than half seek treatment

even though 80 percent could be helped. Common symptoms of depression include

feelings of helplessness, worthlessness, restlessness and irritability,

changes in sleep and appetite, loss of energy and thought of death or suicide.

"We hope that this nationwide effort to provide mental health screening

for depression will educate the public about the signs and symptoms of depression

and encourage those who may be vulnerable to seek evaluation and treatment,"

Jacobs said.

Copyright © 1997, The Daily Beacon. All rights reserved.