OAKLAND (KCBS)— Alta Bates Summit Medical Center hosted a free in-person and online screening for depression in both Berkeley and Oakland on Thursday in commemoration of National Depression Screening Day.

According to experts, one in four people are depressed and not all of them know it. Government furloughs, a tough economy, and stressful world events could all be contributing factors to the mental illness. However, mental health experts are trying to lift the stigma associated with mental illness.

Cynthia Kane-Hyman, a mental health nurse at Alta-Bates, worked an information table at the Oakland campus, trying to get people to stop and fill out a questionnaire.

She said that it’s impromptu encounters like this that can help diagnose people with something they may have been avoiding, but something that could be life altering – like PTSD or bi-polar disorder.

“The suicide rate has gone up dramatically in this country since 2000,” she said. “We’re not improving it, despite all the effort that’s been made in suicide prevention. The suicide rate in this county is 12 percent which is very high.”

Kane-Hymen said the homicide rate in Alameda County is the same percentage.

“You get a sense that there are a lot of people here dealing with stressful situations,” she said.

People often think a diagnosis of depression will earn them a ticket to the psych ward, which she said is not true, nor that you’ll be stuck on medication.

Instead she informed that therapists can counsel in behavioral modification or can help by just listening.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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