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UNI to host depression screening Oct. 9

October 2, 2003

David Towle, director, UNI Counseling Center, (319) 273-2676
James O'Connor, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Thursday, Oct. 9 is National Depression Screening Day. On that day, University of Northern Iowa mental health professionals will offer students, staff, faculty and community members the opportunity to learn about the signs and symptoms of depression and manic-depression, and to participate in a free, anonymous screening. Screenings will take place at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the UNI Counseling Center, Room 213 of the UNI Student Services Center.

Participants will hear a brief talk about the causes, symptoms and treatments of depression and manic-depression, followed by a short video. Individuals will anonymously complete a written screening test and have the opportunity to discuss the results with a mental health professional.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression and manic-depression strike more than 17 million Americans each year. Fewer than half of them seek treatment, even though treatment can help 80 to 90 percent of those affected. Common symptoms of depression include feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, restlessness and irritability, changes in sleep and appetite, loss of energy and thoughts of death or suicide. Manic-depression includes feelings of extreme euphoria and agitation, which can alternate with periods of depression.

'Students with untreated depression are likely to have more problems with academic performance, personal relationships, substance abuse, physical health and employment,' said David Towle, director of the UNI Counseling Center. 'They also may be at increased risk for suicide.'

National Depression Screening Day was developed by Harvard University psychiatrist, Douglas Jacobs. Last year, more than 85,000 people attended screenings at 3,000 sites nationwide. This is the eighth year the UNI Counseling Center has participated.

For more information, contact the UNI Counseling Center at (319) 273-2676.