In recognition of National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources highlights the importance of understanding signs and symptoms of mental health issues, as well as understanding where to seek assistance.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, depression can affect one in every five adults and one in every six youths aged 6-17. Mental health can be threatened by a variety of factors, such as relationship issues, feelings of stress and overwhelming responsibilities, major life changes, and feeling like life has no purpose. Screenings can help identify these threats, as well as underlying depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which are some of the most common mental health diagnoses today.
“It is important to recognize signs and symptoms of mental health disorders early and seek help,” said Christina Mullins, commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Behavioral Health. “Someone suffering from a mental health issue may have feelings of intense sadness, confused thinking, reduced concentration, excessive fears or worries, extreme feelings of guilt, mood swings, significant tiredness, or difficulty sleeping. These individuals may also withdraw from friends and activities that they once enjoyed.”
Mental health screenings for pregnant and postpartum women who may experience perinatal mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety are important. DHHR’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, through its nutrition assessment process and referral services, can help identify and connect women who are at risk with appropriate services. WIC provides information geared towards these women, their partners, as well as their families and friends.
“Mental health screenings assess for risk factors that may be related to genetics, behaviors, or environment,” said Heidi Staats, director of WV WIC. “These quick and easy examinations can result in early detection, treatment, and overall improved outcomes.”
DHHR encourages anyone experiencing signs or symptoms of mental health disorders to seek assistance. Resources include the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline which provides 24/7 free and confidential support, prevention, and crisis resources through phone, text or chat (988lifeline.org).
HELP4WV offers 24/7 confidential support and resource referrals. HELP4WV also offers a Children’s Crisis and Referral line. Residents may call HELP4WV at 844-HELP4WV, text at 844-435-7498, or chat at www.help4wv.com.
HELP304 offers social and emotional counseling through its professional crisis counselors available by phone at 1-877-HELP304, text at 1-877-435-7304, or chat at http://help304.com.