Arkansas Tech University’s Health and Wellness Counseling Services participated in National Depression Screening Day on Oct. 8 in BazTech. The screening was open to all Tech students and allowed them to come at their own pace to talk with counselors.
“We offer counseling services free of charge to all currently enrolled students up to 10 times a [fiscal] school year,” counselor Janis Taylor said. “Sometimes students use all 10 and some come for a couple of times or just one.”
Tech defines depression as “a mood disorder. The symptoms that occur (emotional and physical) interfere with everyday life for an extended period of time. Symptoms may be mild, moderate or severe.”
Depression is a chronic disease, according to the Center for Disese Control and Prevention. Depression knows no age limit, nor does it discriminate against color, race, ethnicity or gender.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “In 2013, an estimated 15.7 million adults aged 18 or older in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.”
The website also reported that in “a nationwide survey of college students at 2- and 4-year institutions found that about 30 percent of college students reported feeling ‘so depressed that it was difficult to function’ at some time in the past year.”
To put that number in a more tangible form, it basically breaks down to 3,602 students of Tech’s 12,007 students enrolled that could be experiencing some aspect of depression.
“For a long time, I thought I was depressed, but after visiting with the counselors here, I have discovered I have anxiety disorder,” a Tech senior who asked to be kept nameless in the story said. “I have made an appointment to continue to talk with the counselors.”
The Health and Wellness Center participated in National Depression Screening Day to give students an opportunity to evaluate themselves or offer support to their friends who might need its services.
The screening began with students filling out a college screening form, and from there students were able to talk to a counselor about the form they filled out.
The counselor broke down each of the three categories and explained to the students what their results were for each. If a student needed further counseling, the services on campus were offered, as well as off-campus choices.
“If you are open, I think it would be a beneficial thing [to go to counseling],” said Taylor.
The center provides opportunities for students who think they or their friends might have depression, anxiety or PTSD to come and talk to counselors free of charge.
Four licensed counselors can be reached at 479-968-0329 or online at atu.medicatconnect.com to make an appointment or ask questions. To take the screening anonymously, go online to www.mentalhealthscreening.org/screening/atu.