Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Loyola to Hold Free Screenings for Depression

Event to coincide with National Depression Screening Day in October

MAYWOOD, Ill. -- Clinical depression is a common medical illness that afflicts more than 19 million Americans, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Early detection can help sufferers dramatically improve their quality of life.

As part of National Depression Screening Day in October, Loyola University Health System will offer free depression screenings from 1-4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 7. The screenings will take place in Room 4131 of the Loyola Outpatient Center, on the campus of Loyola University Medical Center, 2160 S. First Ave., Maywood.

"People can walk in if they think they may be suffering from depression," said Dr. Angelos Halaris, professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. "This is an additional screening to say, 'No, there’s no problem' or 'there may be a problem that warrants further investigation.'"

Depression can be treated with medication and counseling. Untreated, depression can lead to social isolation, severe health problems and even suicide. Symptoms of depression include:

* Persistent sadness, anxiety or empty mood * Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism * Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness * Loss of interest or pleasure in ordinary activities * Decreased energy, a feeling of fatigue * Difficulty concentrating or making decisions * Restlessness or irritability * Inability to sleep or oversleeping * Changes in appetite or weight * Unexplained aches and pains * Thoughts of death or suicide

Screenings are confidential, take about 30 minutes to complete and involve filling out a brief questionnaire. The screenings will be performed by qualified mental health professionals who will screen for depression and some related conditions – dysthymia (a chronic condition in which a person’s moods are regularly low), bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, seasonal affective disorder and generalized anxiety. Afterwards, participants will be able to discuss their results and learn where to go for counseling and treatment.

"The screenings will be informational, not diagnostic," Halaris said. "If necessary, we will refer those who we think need more comprehensive evaluation and treatment."

There is no need to make an appointment. For more information, call Maralee Powderly at (888) 216-5073. Parking is available. Valet and self-parking are $4.

National Depression Screening Day is held during Mental Illness Awareness Week each October. It is designed to call attention to the illness of depression on a national level, educate the public about its symptoms and effective treatments, offer individuals the opportunity to be screened for depression and connect those in need of treatment to the mental health care system.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.