Healthcheck: National Depression Screening Day
October 9, 2013 (WPVI) -- Depression affects millions of Americans. Many are never diagnosed and never treated. But October 10 is "National Depression Screening Day" and Philadelphia is stepping up its effort to participate.
People may spend a lot of time talking about physical health, but mental health is just as important. If your mind is not healthy, it can affect every aspect of your life. But there is hope and help. No one knows that better than a young man who tried to commit suicide when he was just 18 years old.
Twenty-four-year-old Jordan Burnham says he feels blessed to not only be alive but also to be able to walk again. When he was a senior in high school, he tried to kill himself by jumping out of his family's ninth story apartment. He told Action News me he knew he was depressed but didn't understand what that meant.
"Thinking that depression for me was like a cold that would go away after a couple weeks," Burnham said. "I didn't take it seriously."
After dozens of surgeries and rehab, Jordan grew stronger physically and mentally. He got help for his depression. He now tells his story to let others suffering know they're not alone.
When it comes to depression, silence is the enemy.
Dr. Arthur Evans of Philadelphia's Department of Behavioral Health says that's why the city is taking a more active approach.
"If we can go into communities, if we can make resources available online, those kinds of things, we're going to reach many more people than a passive approach of waiting for people to come into treatment," Evans said.
So Thursday, October 10th for National Depression Screening Day, in-person screening will be set up at different locations. You can also go online for an anonymous screening tool. If you are at risk, there is help available. Treatment, through medication or counseling, is 80% to 90% effective.
That's also Jordan's message: There is a bright side.
"I am really proud and happy that I can say I cope with it in a healthy way. So that hopefully others can feel that same way," he told Action News.
Even if you are not in Philadelphia, there are resources for you too as the drive to get more people involved expands.
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