Depression the focus of meetings at Sacred Heart Hospital

An Eau Claire hospital is addressing a very serious topic Tuesday night, one that can be difficult to talk about: depression.  Psychiatrists are answering questions and giving free screenings.

“All of us have a range of emotions, and depression is part of that, sadness is part of that,” said Dr. Kevin Hess, Inpatient Psychiatric Director at Sacred Heart Hospital.

There’s no doubt we’re all tired of seeing gray skies.

But just because we’re stuck singing the winter blues, that doesn’t mean depression is setting in.

“If a person has depressed feelings, or lack of interest in pleasure for more times than not for at least a two-week period of time, then we’re talking about clinical depression. And that needs to be screened, properly diagnosed and treated,” Hess said.

A feeling of gloom that matches the weather isn’t uncommon. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real form of depression, but often one that people exaggerate.

“With the protracted winter weather that we’re experiencing in the area, many people talk about that. And it is depressing so to speak, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re struggling with major depressive disorders or even seasonal affective disorder. It’s just more disappointing that we haven’t seen more of a spring at this point,” explained Hess.

Sacred heart hospital hosted the first of five free screening events for clinical depression Tuesday night, and the process is simple.

“Something as practical as a one-page screener, with questions and answers that the physician could review that and make a determination whether that’s something that needs to be addressed further and treated,” Hess said.

Roughly 19 million Americans suffer from depression each year. But the good news is, treatment is out there.

“Reaching out to your support system, talk therapy, of course medications are all options. Some patients require inpatient psychiatric treatment. But I think the important thing is to ask for help. Because this is very treatable, and there is help available,” said Hess.

Here are some signs to keep in mind; if a friend or loved one has been losing sleep over an extended period of time, or has had a change in their energy level or appetite; those are signs something could be wrong, and they should be evaluated.  Sacred Heart Hospital will host four other walk-in events in May.

-May 4th from noon until 4 p.m. at Sacred Heart Hospital

-May 9th from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. at L.E. Phillips Senior Center

-May 14th from 4:30 until 8:30 p.m. at Sacred Heart Hospital

-May 21st from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Oakwood Mall’s Family Resource Center

Read article HERE.