Philadelphia will join cities around the country in participating in National Depression Screening Day on Thursday October 5th. The city’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) will set up shop in communities across the city providing free anonymous depression screenings, making treatment referrals on the spot and providing information and resources about depression and other mood and anxiety disorders.

More than 85,000 adult Philadelphians live with depression and 32 percent of the city’s high school students reported feeling “sad or hopeless” almost every day for two or more weeks in a row. More Philadelphians may be suffering unaware that the way they are feeling is a treatable condition. Depression screenings are often the first step to getting help. A screening will determine within five to ten minutes if a person is exhibiting symptoms associated with depression and if they should seek support.

A study from the nonprofit Screening for Mental Health shows that 55 percent of those who complete a depression screening seek treatment within three months. For David T. Jones, commissioner of the city’s behavioral health department, this is precisely the point. “People need to know if the feelings they are experiencing are symptomatic of depression or any other mood disorder so that they can begin accessing any necessary treatment and put themselves in the best possible position to recover,” Jones said.

“We want to enable Philadelphians to make this determination early and easily so instead of waiting for the community to come to us asking for depression screenings, which may or may not happen, we’re bringing depression screenings directly to the community.”

If results indicate a person should seek help, trained clinicians will provide local options for treatment and further evaluation. Symptoms of depression can be debilitating and untreated depression can lead to serious health complications and may cause suicide. While feeling sad or down from time to time is normal, feelings of intense sadness, emptiness, hopelessness or worthlessness that persist for two weeks or longer may indicate that a person is suffering from depression, a common medical condition affecting 16 million Americans.

DBHIDS officials will be in communities throughout Philadelphia screening people for depression and other mood disorders at two anchor sites downtown and 12 additional community sites hosted by its provider agencies.

  • The two DBHIDS anchor sites are: La Colombe Coffee Roasters – from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.; set up on patio 100 South Independence Mall (On the corner of 6th and Market Streets) Philadelphia, PA 19106
  • Jefferson Station – from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.; set up next to Tiffany’s Bakery Market Street between 10th and 12th Streets (Enter at 12th and Market Streets) Philadelphia, PA 19107

Click here for a list of additional community screening locations.

“You do not have to give us your name or any other identifying information if you come out for a screening,” said Jones, “because our only interest is in getting you screened and connecting you to evidence-based treatment and other valuable behavioral health services depending on your results.”