National Depression Screening Day offers support for students

By Thomas Verschelde

NIU will hold a depression screening from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday in the Lincoln Room of the Holmes Student Center.

NIU’s Counseling and Student Development Center will host the screening in recognition of National Depression Screening Day.

“It is a good way to provide students with support,” said Erica Barnes, licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) at NIU’s Student Counseling and Development Center. “We offer the screenings to provide education about depression.”

Barnes said the screenings are for people with a history of depression as well as for people who may not even know they are depressed.

Martha Carlson, assessment and referral therapist from the Ben Gordon Center, 12 Health Services Drive, said the screenings usually consist of a written questionnaire as well as an interview with a counselor.

“It is a good staring point for those who aren’t sure if they are struggling with depression,” Carlson said.

According to a press release, the screenings should last about 10 minutes.

Barnes said symptoms that may indicate depression include lack of concentration, sleeping more or less, eating more or less, irritability, tearfulness and isolation.

The screenings are just a first step. Barnes said if the screening indicates a person has depression, she would recommend a follow up appointment.

“[The purpose] is basically to let the students know that counseling is available for students at no cost,” Barnes said.

Carlson said some ways to avoid depression include making sure you have a good support system, exercise everyday, getting enough sleep and having a healthy diet.