Counseling Center, Suicide Prevention Task Force sponsor depression screenings

Depression screenings allow students to asses depression and anxiety anonymously.

MU students underwent depression and anxiety screenings at 11 on-campus sites Thursday. The screenings were sponsored by the MU Counseling Center and the Suicide Prevention Task Force.

Students took the screenings at computers set up at each location. The screenings were anonymous and only the student received the results.

"We don't get the results," MU Counseling Center Assistant Director Jenny Lybeck-Brown said. "But, if based on their results, they want to talk to someone, we get them connected with services at the counseling center."

By identifying their depression and anxiety level, students can have an easier time deciding what steps to take, Lybeck-Brown said.

"Depression is something common that people struggle with and I think some of those people feel like there's something wrong, but they're not exactly sure what's wrong," Lybeck-Brown said. "I think it's helpful to have a label to put on their experience and it's just helpful to know, 'Is what I'm experiencing just kind of a normal little glitch or or maybe it's a little more serious and it's something i should seek some help for?'"

Nearly 30 percent of college students reported feeling “so depressed that it was difficult to function” in 2009, according to the American College Health Association's National College Health Assessment.

While all cases differ, seeking professional treatment can help students function at their full potential academically and socially, Lybeck-Brown said.

Although some students feel uncomfortable with the idea of talking about their depression with peers, group therapy can provide support for students.

"I think something that people don't often think about is group counseling and the benefits of that for depression or other issues," Lybeck-Brown said. "I think one of the things people are struggling with depression or any other mental health issue is that they often feel very alone and very isolated."

One of the benefits of group counseling is having the support of peers, she said.

"We do have a very strong groups program and I think students, while it's sometimes scary to think about talking about your issues in a group, really benefit from that peer contact with a trained facilitator present," Lybeck-Brown said.

While some students may hesitate to seek help, between 80 percent and 90 percent of people with depression respond positively to treatment, according to the 2009 National Center for Health Statistics.

"If you're not doing something to address it, it's potentially going to get worse," Lybeck-Brown said. "It's certainly going to impact every aspect of someone's life; academics can decline, social relationships can decline and plus just feeling bad. It's hard to go through day to day and complete all the responsibilities that students have to complete feeling like you're under the blanket of depression."

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