Screening, program to raise awareness about depression

By Pamela Moeller

NIU will be joining some 300 other institutions and organizations in National Depression Screening Day Oct. 9.

An information table will be located outside of the Blackhawk Cafe in the Pow Wow Thursday, providing brochures and general information about clinical depression.

“The whole effort is to increase awareness (of depression),” said Dr. Richard Long, staff psychologist at the Counseling and Student Development Center, and coordinator of the NIU event.

To achieve this goal, organizers of the event have scheduled a program to inform students, faculty and staff about the symptoms, causes and treatments of clinical depression.

At 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m., anyone interested may attend a program in the Illinois Room of the Holmes Student Center.

As part of the program, Dr. Diana Kraft, a psychiatrist for the Counseling and Student Development Center and University Health Services who is assisting Long, will present a lecture explaining the causes, symptoms and treatments available for clinical depression.

A slide and video presentation will precede the lecture and a question-and-answer session will follow.

After the program, participants will have the opportunity to fill out a self-evaluation form to determine if they suffer from clinical depression. Professionals will be on hand to interpret the exams and make appropriate referrals for help if necessary.

Sponsoring the screening on campus are the University Health Service, Counseling and Student Development Center, NIU Family Center, Psychological Services, Counseling Laboratory and Employee Wellness and Assistance Program.

“Depression is a very real issue for college-age students, as well as faculty and staff,” Long said.

Kraft said that probably eight percent of NIU students suffer from clinical depression, but only one to two percent of those are actually getting the treatment they need.

Long said most people do not realize they have a serious problem and they feel like it’s just something they have to get through.

“Depression, I think, is easy to disguise, or to mask as something else,” Long said. “Sometimes it’s important to get help to get through it. There’s a lot of depression that goes untreated. It’s not uncommon.”

“It’s like looking at the world through gray-colored glasses,” Kraft said.

Long agrees, noting that people tend to see things in a negative light.