Barnabas Health Behavioral Health Center offers free depression screenings

Depression is more common than AIDS, cancer and diabetes combined. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated one in 10 U.S. adults reports depression.

As October 9 is National Depression Screening Day, Barnabas Health Behavioral Health is raising awareness of this national crisis helping people to recognize the signs and symptoms and diagnose illness before the condition progresses.

To help diagnose illness, Barnabas Health Behavioral Health Center will host free depression screenings on Thursday, October 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1691 U.S. Highway 9 in Toms River.

Depression is characterized by depressed or sad mood, lack of pleasure in usual hobbies or interests, irritability, poor concentration, weight gain or loss, low energy and difficulties concentrating. Without an intervention, depression can lead to recurrent thoughts of death where the patient can develop suicidal ideation or a plan to end their life.

Anxiety drives depression, says Dr. Mary Jane Maser, APN the Clinical Director of Stepping Stones, Intensive Outpatient Program at Barnabas Behavioral Health Center.

Anxiety is overthinking negatively about problems in your life that you dont have control over. If you had control over them, its called problem solving. If youre overthinking something negative that you dont have control over- thats anxiety. If overthinking continues and is related to a loss you can become sad and depressed. People can also become depressed if they are overthinking things that they cannot control such as their relationship with a spouse, coworker or a teenager. Once you realize that youve done everything you can and dont have control, never did and never will, can lead many people to feel helpless and hopeless, continues Dr. Maser.

Dr. Maser stresses that its essential to be screened for anxiety and depression. Many patients believe that it is natural to worry about important such as health or financial problems. It is natural to worry unless it becomes a part of your every day. If you are depressed, your quality of life is impacted. Chronic medical conditions such as hypertension and cardiac conditions can be exacerbated by anxiety and depression, she says. Many times, patients dont even realize they have anxiety or depression. In reality, we all have problems but for some people these problems consume them, while others can manage and cope. The bottom line is being emotionally well increases your quality of life.

The symptoms of anxiety and depression can be treated with medication management. Our goal is to assess patients emotional health, talk with them about their symptoms and find the right medication for them. We treat every patient individually and personalize their treatment plan to work for them. Each member of the treatment team collaborates with the patient to listen and respect their personal needs for counseling and therapy. We find the right medicine for them based on their symptoms and work to attain 100 percent wellness, says Dr. Maser.

Barnabas Health Behavioral Health Center also offers help through Stepping Stones, an intensive outpatient program aimed at addressing unique and broad mental health issues. The program is tailored to treat a wide range of disorders, including depression, anxiety, grief, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and other anxiety and mood disorders. For those suffering from comorbid illness such as psychiatric illness and substance abuse disorders, the program provides addiction recovery groups and other treatment modalities.

The Barnabas Health Behavioral Health Center offers an extensive array of high-quality, clinically-focused programs. These programs include a 100-bed acute care psychiatric facility which provides inpatient and intensive outpatient programs for adults and older adults diagnosed with psychiatric and dual diagnoses disorders. At the Barnabas Health Behavioral Health Center, the multidisciplinary staff includes experienced professionals in nearly every facet of behavioral health care. This allows us to provide truly customized and highly specialized treatment tracks, as well as programs for the dually diagnosed.

Pre-registration for the free mental health screenings on Thursday, October 9 is encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome. To register for the free screening day or for further information about the Barnabas Health Behavioral Health Center, please call the 24-hour Access Line at 1-800-300-0628.