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Challenge to Americans: Examine your mental health

Posted by Admin On October - 2 - 2010

Mental Health Advocate Terrie M. Williams, Literary Icon Ntozake Shange, Screening For Mental Health and Stay Strong Foundation challenge Americans to examine their mental health


Screening Data Shows More African Americans Face Depression Now Versus Five Years Ago; Data Reinforces Need for Continued Awareness


Wellesley, MA (BlackNews.com) — All Americans experience tough times. But mental health screening data collected in 2005 as compared to 2010 shows an increase in the number of Americans reporting symptoms of depression and other mood and anxiety disorders. The data, collected and analyzed by Screening for Mental Health, Inc.*, a nonprofit organization that provides mental health education, screening and treatment resources, also showed a 14% decrease in the number of Americans who are currently being treated for depression or who have received treatment in the past.

Other key findings include:

* A 23% increase in the very likelihood for depression among Black Americans
* A 34% increase in the very likelihood of depression among men
* A 49% increase in the very likelihood for depression among people who are divorced or separated
* A 15% increase in the very likelihood for depression among Hispanic and Latino people
* A 17% increase in the very likelihood for depression among people ages 18-25
* An 18% increase in women who scored positive for symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder
* A 76% increase in people in the workplace being treated for generalized anxiety disorder

National Depression Screening Day is October 7, and individuals can locate a mental health screening site or take an online screening at www.HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org

“As the screening data indicates, more of us are reporting symptoms of depression, which is significant because in our community, depression, or any form of mental illness, is looked upon as a sign of weakness. We’d rather say that we have a relative in jail or on drugs before admitting that we have a mental illness,” says Terrie M. Williams, president and CEO of The Terrie Williams Agency, and co-founder of Stay Strong Foundation.

Screening for Mental Health recently teamed up with The Stay Strong Foundation’s “Healing Starts with Us” campaign by providing the organization with a customized online mental health screening program. The campaign is focused on reducing the number of individuals, particularly people of color, who are undiagnosed and suffering from depression, by giving them access to free, anonymous online screening questionnaires for depression, general anxiety disorder, bipolar and posttraumatic stress disorder.

“In my work with Ntozake Shange, the Obie-winning and Tony-nominated playwright of for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf – of which a film version adapted by Tyler Perry will be open on November 5th – we are doing everything we can to break the silence and end the stigma and shame related to mental health issues in the Black community,” adds Ms. Williams. “We support the use of anonymous screening as a first step to self-awareness, understanding, and ultimately greater acknowledgement.”

Thousands of organizations nationwide host National Depression Screening Day events including hospitals, community centers, social service agencies, government organizations, older adult facilities, colleges, and military installations. After completing a screening, participants can receive referral information to local agencies that offer further evaluation and treatment if needed. National Depression Screening Day has been serving communities across the country for 20 years.

Individuals can locate a screening event or take an online screening by visiting www.HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org.


About the Stay Strong Foundation (SSF)
Established in 2001, and co-founded by Terrie M. Williams and Xavier Artis, the SSF is working to reduce the frightening number of individuals — particularly people of color — who are undiagnosed and suffering from depression, and to serve as a community supported network for awareness, dialogue, education and inspiration. Terrie Williams is a clinical social worker by training who became founder and president of The Terrie Williams Agency, a successful public relations firm that represents some of entertainment industry’s biggest artists. Terrie’s current work, a book entitled Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting, is the untold story of depression among African Americans as well as Terrie’s tale of her own battle with depression. Terrie has a B. A. in Psychology and Sociology from Brandeis University, and an M.S. in Social Work from Columbia University.

The Stay Strong Foundation (www.thestaystrongfoundation.org) has also collaborated with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and The Advertising Council on a national Public Service Advertising (PSA) campaign. The PSA campaign was designed to raise awareness of mental health problems among young adults in the African American community and directs them to visit, www.storiesthatheal.samhsa.gov, where they can learn more about mental health problems and how to get involved.


About Screening for Mental Health
For two decades, Screening for Mental Health has worked with organizations to provide mental health education and screening programs, including National Depression Screening Day®, National Alcohol Screening Day®, and the National Eating Disorders Screening Program®. These programs are designed to educate, reduce stigma, and screen people for mood and anxiety disorders, alcohol problems and eating disorders. Individuals can locate a mental health screening site or take an anonymous online screening by visiting www.HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org.

For more information about Screening for Mental Health, visit www.MentalHealthScreening.org or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HelpYourselfHelpOthers and Twitter www.twitter.com/HYSHO.

*Data compares individuals who self-selected to take an online mental health assessment in 2005 to those who took it in 2010.

October 7th is National Depression Screening Day; locate a mental health screening site or take an online screening at www.HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org

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