Big Spring Herald

Depression screenings Oct. 10


It's often difficult to differenti­ate between depressive disorders and having the blues, especially when someone is in the throes of a difficult time in his or her life.

“Being depressed or down in the dumps is quite common and affects a number of people,” said Shelley Smith LMSW, West Texas Centers CEO. “Depressive disorders are different. It lasts for an extended period and requires medical interventi­on.”

“What we see in our 15 West Texas Centers mental health clinics is that many people cannot tell if they are feeling depressed or if they are living with major depression,” Smith continued. “It often takes a clinician to diagnose and treat depression.”

To assist people who may be unsure whether they are depressed or those going through a rough patch, West Texas Centers and Big Spring State Hospital will offer free depression screenings to the community, Thursday, October 10, on National Depression Screening Day.

The screenings will be held at the Heritage Museum Conference Room, 510 S. Scurry St., Big Spring, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Screenings are free and are open to people of any age, Smith said.

“We have been partnering with Big Spring State Hospital since 2000, offering this free, confidenti­al service to

the community,” Smith said. “We have assisted hundreds of people during National Depression Screening Day and identified many who needed immediate treatment. Some had been living with major depression for years but did not think they needed help.”

Upon arrival, attendees are provided with a short questionna­ire that will be reviewed by an on-site medical profession­al.

“The questionna­ire provided to us by the National Depression Screening Day organizati­on gives our mental health profession­als insight into how and why they are feeling depressed,” Smith said.

The clinicians and the attendees review the answers together, which gives the mental health experts additional informatio­n and helps them decide whether follow-up care is necessary.

Mental health profession­als at the screenings do not diagnose depression Smith said, but they may suggest avenues participan­ts can pursue. Each attendee is given educationa­l literature and the names and phone numbers of community resources

“Many of the people we see every year are those who are just not sure if they are clinically depressed or if they just need to work through a particular issue that they may be experienci­ng,” Smith said.

Depression affects more than 16 million

Americans each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

West Texas Centers operates a 24-hour mental health crisis hotline, 1-800-375-4357.the line is available for those who are in a crisis or need mental health services, Smith said.

West Texas Centers also offers Mental Health First Aid classes throughout the year. You may contact Howard College to sign up for the class, or logon to our website to see a list of training dates.

For more informatio­n on the depression screenings or mental health first aid, call Amy Vidal at 432-2643256 or

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