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National Depression Screening Day: Check Your Mental Health

If you are battling depression, the first Thursday of October will remind you of the importance of seeking help. Through National Depression Screening Day,  we will call for easy access to self-assessment tools and emphasize the importance of seeking help from a qualified mental health professional.

Throughout the month, mental health discussions take center stage since October is National Depression & Mental Health Screening Month/ADHD Awareness Month, while October 10 is World Mental Health Day.

From removing stigma to providing help, the importance of this awareness day is evident. Read on to learn more. 

Featured in: October - Awareness Months, Days & Observances.

History and Background

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Psychiatrist Douglas Jacobs and the Screening for Mental Health (SMH) established National Depression Screening Day, also known as NDSD, in 1991. In the United States, NDSD is strategically dated during Mental Illness Awareness Week or Mental Health Awareness Week.

Its main objective is to provide hope to individuals struggling with unidentified or untreated mental health issues, specifically depression.

In 1994, NDSD expanded to include high schools and colleges to connect with young people experiencing mental health disorders. The NDSD program has achieved several noteworthy milestones. 

For instance, in 2004, the program incorporated screening for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Then, in 2008, it expanded to include eating disorders. The program's impact became evident globally when Canada created the Canadian National Depression Screening Day in 2011.

Related Read: World Mental Health Day.

The Cause and Its Challenges

Clinical depression is a common mental health disorder and a serious medical illness that affects many people worldwide. This chronic condition disrupts daily life. However, due to misconceptions and stigmatization, depression often goes unaddressed.

People with depression often consider its symptoms to be ordinary aspects of life; clinical depression affects men and women, young or old, black or white, rich or poor, around the world. Many people hesitate to discuss their mental health openly, fearing judgment and exclusion. 

Sadly, this silence is a barrier to seeking help. Reports say that the number of individuals with depression seeking help from medical professionals has remained below 6% from 2015 to 2019.

Furthermore, people in low and middle-income countries suffer most from the mental healthcare gap. As such, we urgently need more accessible, affordable, and efficient mental healthcare. One example is providing affordable mental health screenings to everyone.

Top 3 Facts On Why National Depression Screening Day Matters

  1. Depressive disorders involve prolonged instances of extreme sadness or emptiness, which significantly impede one's capacity to enjoy life. They manifest predominantly as Major Depressive Disorder (almost daily for at least two weeks) and Persistent Depressive Disorder (on most days for at least two years), requiring a specific symptom duration. 
  2. In the US, an estimated 21.0 million adults experienced at least one major depressive episode, accounting for 8.3% of the adult population.
  3. Furthermore, statistical data from 2021 indicates that 61.0% of US adults above 18 years who had a major depressive episode received treatment within the year1.

Efforts and Initiatives

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has instituted a Mental Health Gap Action Programme to expand services for individuals with mental health and substance use disorders. 

In Australia, the non-profit organization Beyond Blue raises awareness and provides community resources to understand better and address depression. 

Meanwhile, the European Alliance Against Depression has a similar approach but emphasizes the creation of a structured care system to fight depression and prevent suicide. 

Canada hosts Mental Health Week every year, focusing on understanding the symptoms and treatments of depression. 

Finally, in South Africa, the Depression and Anxiety Group educates students about depression and anxiety and highlights the importance of early intervention and education. 

How to Get Involved and Support National Depression Screening Day

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  • Explore the online depression screening tool Mental Health America (MHA) offers here. Remember, though, that this screening is not a definitive diagnosis of depression.
  • If you suspect yourself to have severe depression, seek treatment immediately. If people you know could be depressed, advise them to seek professional medical advice.
  • Attend local depression screening events. These gatherings are not only for screenings but also provide educational resources for individuals. 
  • Volunteer at events or local mental health organizations by assisting with registration or distributing informative brochures. The aid of volunteers is valuable in reducing stigma, supporting early detection, and fostering mental health education.
  • Share your mental health story with a friend or online to contribute to the goal of removing stigma.
  • Donate or join fundraising campaigns to support mental health organizations.
  • Encourage policymakers to discuss and solve the mental healthcare treatment gap.


National Depression Screening Day helps illuminate the most misunderstood mental illness. Raising awareness about depression involves understanding the condition, promoting early detection, and appropriate treatment. 

Taking action can start from a simple act of open discussion. By supporting this awareness day, we can slowly build a world where empathy is commonplace.

National Depression Screening Day FAQs

1. What is National Depression Screening Day?

It is an annual event held every first Thursday of October to raise awareness about depression, provide free mental health screenings, and promote access to treatment and support.

2. Who can participate?

It is open to individuals of all ages who want to learn more about depression, assess their mental health, or seek help and support.

3. How can I participate?

You can attend a local screening event, take an online mental health screening, or encourage others to get screened. Likewise, spread awareness through social media, share resources, or organize a screening event in your community.

4. Are the screenings confidential?

All screenings are designed to provide individuals with a safe, private space to assess their mental health. Your personal information will be kept confidential and only shared with your consent or as required by law.

5. Why is it important to observe this day?

National Depression Screening Day is vital for reducing mental health stigma, encouraging early detection and intervention, and promoting access to resources and treatment.


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2022). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP22-07-01-005, NSDUH Series H-57). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Mike is a degree-qualified researcher and writer passionate about increasing global awareness about climate change and encouraging people to act collectively in resolving these issues.

Fact Checked By:
Isabela Sedano, BEng.

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