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October is National Depression Awareness Month

Posted by: Health.mil Staff

Seeking help is a sign of strength

Depression can affect anyone, anytime and anywhere. One in 10 adults in the United States suffers from depression, and about half of those who do fail to seek treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An annual Military Pathways campaign aims to end the stigma surrounding depression.

October is National Depression Awareness Month, and military installations are encouraging service members to reach out for help with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other invisible wounds.

Treating depression early on – before it reaches crisis level – is the most effective way to combat the illness. Every year, Military Pathways marks October 10 as National Depression Screening Day, encouraging service members, veterans and their families to take an online self-assessment to identify potential symptoms. The free self-assessment takes just a few minutes. The test helps users identify if they are simply sad or the problem is more serious. It also addresses PTSD, substance use and anxiety. The tool tells service members how and where they may get “real life” help. The site has performed more than 300,000 screenings since 2006.

If you believe your loved one is suffering from depression, watch for these signs:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" feelings

  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed

  • Decreased energy; feeling tired all the time

  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism

  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness

  • Irritability, restlessness

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions

  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness or excessive sleeping

  • Overeating or appetite loss

  • Thoughts of suicide; suicide attempts

Visit Military Pathways to take the self-assessment test. Seeking help is a sign of strength.