National Depression Screening Day

    Counselors at the Marshall University Psychology Clinic offered students who may be experiencing problems free, private depression screenings.

    The screenings took place on Thursday in Harris Hall as part of National Depression Screening Day. Thirty-three students and community members met with clinical psychology graduate students to complete the assessment.

    Psy.D candidate, Jeff Swenski, said a short questionnaire screens for depression indicators such as sleep loss, poor appetite, difficulty doing activities and suicidal thoughts, which then helped counselors recommend a course of action.

    “If those indicators are present, the next step is really up to the patient. We can talk to them and determine if they want to seek therapy or not,” Swenski said. “Generally, we give them referrals here to the Psychology Clinic, the Counseling Center or different options in the community.”

    Psy.D candidate, Courtney Blackburn, encouraged people to not let the mental health stigma dissuade them from seeking help.

    “A lot of times mental health has a bad stigma associated with it, so it’s really important to let people know that it’s okay,” Blackburn said. “Things like this get the message out there that it’s okay to struggle and that there are people here who care about you and want to help you. People need to know that they’re not alone.”

    One student understood the prevalence of depression. Freshman psychology major, Leanna Hinkle, said she believed it was the perfect time for her to take the first step.

    “Depression is very common and people shouldn’t be afraid to embrace that they may or may not have it,” Hinkle said. “My parents thought that I was showing signs of depression and I saw the fliers when I got out of my class, which was right across the hall from the office, so I figured this was a perfect time to try it. It wasn’t scary at all; the lady I spoke with was really nice and gave me options for next steps. It wasn’t really hard to come here, but I think trying to pursue it more might be difficult.”

    Junior psychology major, Brooke Scarboro, said she needed to talk to someone about the symptoms she was experiencing.

    “I came out to the screenings because, in the past couple months, I’ve felt signs of depression, but I was not exactly sure if that was depression or if I was over-thinking my feelings,” Scarboro said. “I wasn’t sure if I was making myself feel worse than I actually am. I wanted to talk to somebody today and see if this was normal, that maybe I wasn’t suffering from depression but just have been exhibiting some signs.”

    Scarboro, who is on a path to becoming a psychologist, said this kind of counseling is something she wants to do.

    “As a psychology student, I want to go into counseling and help other people sort out their feelings, express themselves, be able to articulate what they are going through and just be a friend to them,” Scarboro said.

    Graduate student and counselor, Britani Black, said counselors at the Psychology Clinic hope to make the screening a more regular event and that counselors hope to start screening for anxiety as well.

    The Psychology Clinic is located in Harris Hall Room 449. The clinic is open for therapy and screenings by appointment only on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    Walk-in therapy appointments and crisis evaluations are available at Marshall’s Counseling Center.

    Rob Engle can be contacted at [email protected]