Oct. 10 is National Depression Screening Day; Help Is Available at UB's Psychological Services Center

Screening program to be free and open to the community

Release Date: September 19, 2002 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Even without the trauma of Sept. 11, 2001, and its recent anniversary, many Western New York residents regularly are troubled by feelings of sadness, anger, inadequacy, tension, irritability, constant tiredness or the loss of the joy of day-to-day living.

It is possible that they suffer from depression, one of the most common, pervasive and dangerous emotional disorders.

The good news is that depression and related illnesses are more treatable today than ever before, and effective treatment does not necessarily require the use of medications.

On Oct. 10, National Depression Screening Day, the Psychological Services Center at University at Buffalo will reach out to help those experiencing symptoms of depression, manic-depression, generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The center, open to the general public as well as the campus community, will offer free written screening tests, an educational presentation on these disorders and a private, one-to-one discussion with a mental health professional who can advise visitors about possible treatments and offer referrals.

The screenings will take place from 9 a.m. to noon and 4-7 p.m. in the Psychological Services Center, 168 Park Hall on the UB North (Amherst) Campus. For more information, call 645-3650, ext. 400.

Beth Cohen, Ph.D., director of the center and UB clinical assistant professor of psychology , says that depression and related disorders can be destructive to an individual's personal life, relationships, ability to work, even his or her ability to function in simple ways from day-to-day.

"Depressed people experience some or all symptoms of the illness," she says, "from sadness, loss of pleasure in usual activities, changes in sleep and appetite, and loss of energy, to feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, restlessness and thoughts of death or

suicide. It can be a devastating illness. We are very fortunate that we have so many ways to treat it today."

"Someone with manic-depression or bi-polar disorder," she says, "will experience depressive symptoms alternating with feelings of euphoria and/or agitation. While sometimes pleasant to the individual with the illness, its 'manic' side can trigger behavior that has serious familial, economic and emotional consequences.

"Generalized anxiety disorder," she says, "involves overwhelming feelings of tension, fear and worry that persist for months unabated, while post-traumatic stress symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, difficulty concentrating and great effort devoted to avoiding thoughts about the traumatic event."

Those people whose difficulties are related to a life event, such as a sudden death, traumatic injury or even a public event like Sept. 11, she says, may find that on or near anniversary dates symptoms that had disappeared or lessened may return or even worsen. For those troubled by Sept. 11, she says, "the problem is compounded by media rebroadcasts and revisitations of the images and sounds of that tragedy."

"Whether their symptoms are related to 9/11 or not, however, anyone can seek help and peace of mind through the free screenings, counseling and other assistance offered at the center on Oct. 10," Cohen says. "We welcome any and all who want to come.

"We want people with these problems to realize that they are not alone, that their symptoms afflict millions of others and that there are excellent professional therapists out there who are very experienced in the successful treatment of these illnesses, sometimes in a very short time," Cohen says.

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