This past Thursday Wartburg held an event in the Saemann Student Center in honor of National Depression Screening Day.
Students were able to take an anonymous screening that would show them the likelihood of having symptoms of depression. Pathways counselor Molly Wertz said the event was done in hopes of raising more awareness around depression and mental illness.
“Every year, screening for mental health has a theme and this year the theme is ‘Awareness Builds Change. So this week we want to raise awareness because only through awareness can we help people make changes,” Wertz said.
The day was done as part of Mental Health Awareness Week and was started back in 1990, Wertz said.
Wertz said the screening is not a diagnosis, but rather a step in the right direction for people who may need help and treatment. She also said the screening is not just only for depression, but also tests for symptoms of anxiety, extreme mood changes and PTSD.
After the screenings, counselors sat down with students to talk about the results and offer advice on what they should do moving forward.
The day also offers the ability to add a face to the Wartburg counseling services since they aren’t able to get out of their offices much. Wertz said this day allows them to meet students and familiarize them with the services.
Suicide Awareness For Everyone president Hailey Franzen said she believes the day is very important because it gets people talking about topics like depression and suicide.
“We want to break down the stigma that surrounds these topics because they affect so many people our age and it is a crisis at this point. The biggest problem is that people just don’t want to talk about it,” Franzen said.
Franzen also said it is important to break down those barriers because it can means someone’s life.
It is important to remember someone does not have to be depressed to speak with a counselor and just because someone did not score high in the screenings does not mean they cannot come in to talk, Wertz said.
The main thing Wertz wants students to get out of the day is to realize help is available when it comes to depression.
“We really want to normalize just seeking help,” Wertz said. “We want students to understand depression is normal. Depression is real, it is treatable and certainly no one has to go through something like this alone.”
If students were unable to make it to the screening event, Pathways does offer an online screening through the counseling services website or students can always go into the office and do a paper screening. All screenings are confidential, Wertz said.
For anyone that needs counseling or help, Pathways can be reached by phone at (319) 352-8596. Students can also reach out to Wertz or Director Stephanie Newsom. In emergency cases, students can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.