WASHINGTON, D.C., 8 Oct. 2010 --October is Depression Awareness Month; a commemorative month providing the Army Reserve with a unique opportunity to bring attention to depression --and educate Soldiers, civilians and Families about its signs and symptoms. Most importantly, Depression Awareness Month draws attention to the first step in getting well: taking a free -anonymous-- screening.

According to Jerry Harben of the U.S. Army Medical Command, "Clinical depression is a serious medical condition that, if left untreated, may lead to other complicated medical conditions ... Seeking treatment for a medical condition is not a sign of weakness ... it may prevent a good Soldier from becoming a casualty."

The National Institute of Mental Health believes that depression affects some 14.8 million people in the United States.

Army Reserve personnel should be aware of the following signs of depression:
Aca,!Ac sadness
Aca,!Ac loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
Aca,!Ac feelings of guilt or worthlessness
Aca,!Ac restlessness
Aca,!Ac withdrawing from friends and family
Aca,!Ac trouble concentrating or making decisions.
Aca,!Ac physical aches and pains
Aca,!Ac irritability
Aca,!Ac anxiety
Aca,!Ac over-eating or loss of appetite or thoughts of suicide or death.

Some depressed people believe their symptoms are a normal part of life -but more than 80 percent of clinical depression cases can be treated effectively with medication, psychotherapy or both. Depression Awareness is about providing our Army Reserve personnel with the resources they need to recognize and overcome depression.

Despite the geographical distances between Army installations and some Reserve Soldiers and Families, Army Reserve personnel are not alone. Numerous resources are just a phone call or an email away.

For Soldiers, Family members and Army Civilians, anonymous depression screenings are available through the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs and behavioral health agencies and resources in local communities.
The following Websites provide the screenings:
Aca,!Ac DoD (http://www.militarymentalhealth.org/Welcome.aspx or 877-877-3647)
Aca,!Ac Department of Veterans Affairs (http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/depression.asp)
Aca,!Ac Military Pathways, http://www.mentalhealthscreening.org/programs/military/).

Depression, even the most severe cases, is a highly treatable disorder. As with any illness, the earlier the treatment begins, the more effective it is and the greater the likelihood the recurrence of depression can be prevented. If you or someone you know suffers from depression, help is available.

More resources:
Aca,!Ac National Suicide Prevention Life Line http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Aca,!Ac Uniformed Services University Courage to Care: What Military Families Should Know About Depression http://www.usuhs.mil/psy/pdf/shouldknowaboutdepression.pdf
Aca,!Ac Army Behavioral Health http://www.behavioralhealth.army.mil/
Aca,!Ac Army Resilience Training http://www.resilience.army.mil/
Aca,!Ac Real Warriors Campaign http://www.realwarriors.net/
Aca,!Ac Military OneSource www.militaryonesource.com
Aca,!Ac Comprehensive Soldier Fitness: http://www.army.mil/csf/
Aca,!Ac TRICARE Mental Health and Behavior for Beneficiaries http://www.tricare.mil/mentalhealth/
Aca,!Ac Defense Center of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury http://www.dcoe.health.mil/default.aspx
Aca,!Ac Army Resilience Training https://www.resilience.army.mil/