Are you depressed?
The month of October is National Depression Awareness Month.
The National Alliance of Mental Illness reports that an estimated 16 million American adults have experienced a depressive episode in the past year.
You can get help from trained counselors at Haven of Hope, a Christian-based counseling agency, to recognize the various signs and symptoms of depression. Free screenings are also available there this week in conjunction with National Depression Awareness Month.
Symptoms of depression include feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, helplessness, difficulty concentrating, alcohol or substance abuse, and more.
Sadness itself is not necessarily a sign of depression, unless it persists.
“Sadness and depression are different clinically. Everybody gets sad. Clinical depression, or major depressive disorder is a chemical imbalance in your brain. Generally with major depressive disorder, we’re talking about months rather than weeks. But if you have sadness for more than two weeks, come in to Haven of Hope Counseling and get screened for depression. That could be very helpful,” said Samantha Curtis, one of five Master Level Mental Health Counselors at Haven of Hope.
Clinical depression is a serious medical condition that if left untreated, may lead to other medical conditions. The good news for those who suffer with depression is that it can be treated.
“All of us get depressed at times. It might be for a short period of time but we all get depressed at times. There is adjustment disorder with depression. We all get crises in our life. We have losses. We might lose a job. We might have a house fire. There are just different things we have to adjust to and we can have depression and even anxiety with that too. That’s on one end of the spectrum. The other end is probably when someone is suicidal. They have just given up hope and don’t know what to do especially if they are keeping all that in and are not talking to anybody about that. Those are the two extremes,” said Kay Quintero, Clinical Director for Haven of Hope Counseling.
“A lot of times you’ll recognize when you’re depressed. You’ll know you’re sad every day. We have people who come in to Haven of Hope Counseling and say I’ve had enough of this. At the same time, there are a lot of people who deny that they need any help for that. They feel like they should be able to deal with that on their own or that it has gone on so long, maybe this is just who I am. That is not necessarily true. We do want people to know that we are here locally and that you have access for help. We are here to help the community,” Curtis said.
One form of depression is from trauma. “People can get depressed because of trauma that they have experienced in their life. All of our counselors are trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy which is specifically geared toward trauma,” said Curtis.
“I suggest that people go to EMDR.com. It is designed a lot for counselors to go get their training but there is a tab for clients to get further information and people can learn about it there. It’s a method that was developed maybe 25 years ago. I got trained in it and really thought it was a good method and our agency has made sure all of our counselors are trained in it. There are very few agencies that can say all their counselors are trained in EMDR to help people with trauma,” said Quintero.
The holidays and winter season can also bring on sadness and depression.
“Grief is a big issue and can sometimes correlate with the holidays and bring on sadness and depression. We can absolutely help you with that depression. I have a lot of clients who are working through grief. It doesn’t mean you will be in counseling forever. Sometimes it’s short term. It can be just a few weeks. Sometimes longer. Everybody is different but you don’t have to suffer from grief and depression during the holidays. We are here to help you make that better,” added Curtis.
A depression screening is often the first step toward getting well and you can get a free screening this week at Haven of Hope Counseling.
“You can walk in or call ahead of time. It will probably take about 15 minutes to fill out a form to help us determine if your response is in the normal range. It is divided into about four different categories. It’s very quick to do and one of our counselors can privately go over the results with you. I think it would help you to know where you are on that. We can then suggest what may be helpful in the future based on what those results are,” said Quintero.
While the counselors at Haven of Hope are not doctors, they can help arrange for further treatment for you especially in the event of a crisis.
“When it is a crisis situation we have a wonderful service in Cookeville at the Crisis Stabilization Unit. They can talk with people and they even have ten beds there where people can stay three days and get some medications started. It has helped many people,” Quintero continued.
“While it wasn’t enough of an emergency to have them go to the emergency room, a number of times my husband and I have driven people to the CSU unit. Of course, anyone in crisis and thinking of hurting themselves or hurting somebody else seriously can go to the ER and they will call Crisis to come and interview them there. We often talk to people who need the service, but it’s not where it’s dangerous at the moment. So my husband and I will drive them over to CSU and wait and see if they are going to be accepted or not. CSU doesn’t even charge. It is a free service. I think it works out real good. I think of the number of people we’ve taken and think, wow, if we’ve saved a life because we were able to get them over there and get them interviewed, it was more than worth it. It makes you feel good,” added Quintero.
“A lot of times after they receive crisis counseling we (Haven of Hope Counseling) get the referral for them to come back to us. We get referrals from all over middle Tennessee. We had a Vanderbilt referral two months ago. They learned about us and heard that we were doing good things,” said Curtis.
Haven of Hope Counseling , a non-profit 501C3, strives to make its services available to everyone who needs help regardless of their income. “We accept TennCare and most insurances. Sometimes there are co-pays with the insurance. We have a sliding fee scale for people who do not have insurance. We have a lot of people whose income on that sliding fee scale is the minimum, meaning they pay a ten dollar fee for a 50 minute counseling session. You can’t beat that anywhere. So we work with people. We want people to get help. We also received a grant from Saint Thomas and that was to help us serve more people because we were serving a lot of people at a very low rate or free rate. Now that we have the grant, it is helping us serve more people,” said Quintero.
A fundraiser is also planned for November 11 to help support Haven of Hope Counseling.
“Mark Thomas of Nashville will be here. He is a former Minister of Music at the Smithville First Baptist Church. He will do a concert for us at the community center. There will be no charge for admission but donations will be accepted that night,” Quintero said.
You may also make a tax deductible donation to Haven of Hope Counseling any time especially in memory or in honor of someone.
Haven of Hope Counseling is located at the Magnolia House, 301 West Main Street. Call 615-597-4673. That’s 615- 597-HOPE. Walk-ins are also welcome.