Depression Doesn’t Discriminate
Men, women, and children. Black and white. Rich and poor. Depression affects Americans from all walks of life, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one in thirteen of us is living with depression.
- In 2019, nearly 13 million U.S. adults and 2.7 million U.S. adolescents had at least one major depressive episode with severe impairment in the past year, including:
- About 31% of Americans in poverty and almost 16% of those not in poverty report having been diagnosed with depression 
Recognizing signs of depression
Depression is often referred to as a silent illness. Many people who suffer from depression secretly struggle and never seek help. Signs and symptoms of depression include:
- Low mood or increased irritability
- Feeling empty or numb
- Loss of energy or motivation
- Loss of interest in regular or recreational activities
- Feelings of guilt, restlessness, hopelessness, worthlessness or fear
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Changes in appetite or eating behavior
- Poor concentration
- Suicidal thoughts
If you or someone you love is experiencing any of the common risk factors and warning signs associated with depression, online or in-person depression screening is the first step toward improved mental health and wellbeing.
Benefits of depression screening
Screening is a valuable tool in the identification and treatment of depression. One of the most common screening tests for depression is the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ). Early identification and treatment of depression can:
- Slow its progress
- Improve your physical health
- Prevent years of suffering
- Decrease the risk of death by suicide
- Place you on the path to a happier, healthier life
Visit here to complete the PHQ-8. Once you complete the assessment, be sure to review your results and any recommendations with your doctor.
Who should take a depression screening test?
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for depression in the general adult population, including pregnant and postpartum women. Although anyone can develop depression, regardless of their age, ethnicity, or background, depression is more common among people who:
- Have a family history of mental illness
- Have another mental health condition, like anxiety
- Struggle with a substance use disorder, like drug addiction or alcoholism
- Recently experienced a stressful life change or traumatic event
However, anyone who has any signs of depression should take a depression screening test.
Screening and treatment
While screenings are not a professional diagnosis, they do point out the presence or absence of depressive symptoms and can indicate if a referral for further evaluation is needed. You should see your doctor or a qualified mental health professional if you experience five or more depression symptoms for longer than two weeks or if the symptoms are severe enough to interfere with your daily routine.
Proper treatment of depression has been proven to effectively reduce depressive symptoms, decrease the risk of relapse and recurrence, and decrease emergency department visits and hospitalization rates.
Visit Magellan’s Behavioral Health Resources page to learn more about depression and other mental health conditions.
If you’re in crisis or have suicidal thoughts, seek help immediately. Please call 1-800-273-8255 (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) or call 911 and ask for help, or go to your nearest emergency room.