For the upcoming National Depression Screening, Emporia State University’s Counseling Center will have its sixth annual free Depression Screening from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 28, 29 and 30, on the basement floor of William Allen White Library.
“It is impossible for counselors to meet all the students on campus, but with Depression Screening, we can go out and meet a lot of different students,” said Bonnie Starr, counselor and biofeedback coordinator of Student Counseling Center.
The purpose of the Depression Screening is to screen students who may be at risk for depression and help them get in contact with campus resources. The Counseling Center screened more than 500 students and made appointments with about 60 students last year.
Shubha Chatterjee, graduate art therapy student and mental health communication major, will help at the event for her third time this year.
“It is a very general depression screening and students can learn the relaxation techniques for our mind and body,” Chatterjee said.
Students will be asked to take the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ9) and be scored before being sent to talk with counselors.
Shana Smith, counselor at the Counseling Center, said this year the center newly provides an online screening questionnaire that students can take ahead of time and bring to the library for scoring and talking to the counselors.
“We are trying to make it readily accessible for students,” Smith said.
Each student has five to 10minutes to talk with counselors, with a maximum of 15 minutes. The counseling will be presented individually in five different study rooms downstairs and is confidential. Students can also make hour-long appointments with counselors at the Counseling Center.
Smith said students should not only be concerned with the score of the questionnaire, but also with talking to counselors.
Students who have the following symptoms for more than two weeks may be at risk of depression: not being able to sleep or sleeping too much, eating too little or eating too much, overall depressed mood or feeling sad.
“Students don’t have to have depression to come to talk, but maybe there is something happening in their lives, and they need a professional experienced counselor to make it less scary,” Smith said.
As a student from India, Chatterjee said the Depression Screening is especially a good tool for international students, who are facing more stress about moving from foreign countries and having the different backgrounds and studying in foreign languages.
According to Chatterjee, it is important to learn how to relax, even with economic and graduating stress.
Art Therapy is doing handcrafts or doing art work to get enjoyment and relaxation, such as painting, singing songs or making beads. Biofeedback is the technique of relaxation to empower the body and mind by adjusting breathing or other physical actions.
“I really think the Biofeedback and Art Therapy really help, especially since it is free,” Chatterjee said.