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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 094-06
Thursday, October 5, 2006

MEDIA CONTACT: (212) 788-5290; (212) 788-3058 (After Hours)
Andrew Tucker (atucker@health.nyc.gov)
Erica Lessem (elessem@health.nyc.gov)


ON NATIONAL DEPRESSION SCREENING DAY, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND MENTAL HYGIENE REMINDS NEW YORKERS THAT DEPRESSION CAN BE TREATED

NEW YORK CITY – October 5, 2006 – Today the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) announced that free screenings for depression will be offered to New Yorkers Thursday, October 5, which is National Depression Screening Day. To find one of the 30 screening sites throughout the city, New Yorkers can call 311 and ask for LIFENET.

Lloyd I. Sederer, MD, DOHMH’s Executive Deputy Commissioner for Mental Hygiene Services, said, "Depression is a serious and under-diagnosed condition in New York City. An estimated 400,000 New Yorkers - many of them 65 years and older - suffer from significant emotional distress. Effective medicines and treatment are available, yet a majority of people with depression do not seek help and thus suffer needlessly. Calling 311 and asking for LIFENET is the easiest way for all New Yorkers to start getting the help they need fighting depression."

National Depression Screening Day

Thursday October 5 is National Depression Screening Day. DOHMH offers confidential screenings as well as the opportunity to talk one-on-one with a mental health professional if desired. Those who may benefit from further evaluation are referred to local treatment services.

Screenings will be offered at the City's public hospitals and a range of other community sites citywide. For information on screening sites, please call 1-800-LIFENET or 311 and ask for LIFENET, or visit http://www.mentalhealthscreening.org/locator/NDSDmap2.aspx for an online site locator. Also visit http://www.mentalhealthscreening.org for more information on screenings and other programs on depression.

"Get Help for Depression" – a Take Care New York Priority

Take Care New York, the City’s health policy, prioritizes the top ten things all New Yorkers can do to be healthier, including "Get Help for Depression." Undetected and untreated depression results in unnecessary individual suffering, family and community burden, and increases the use of health care services. Depression can also worsen other medical conditions, such as diabetes and arthritis, making those conditions less responsive to treatment. Additionally, untreated depression can lead to disability and suicide.

The Mental Health Association of New York City operates LIFENET under a contract with DOHMH, which provides counseling and referral services, and is available in English 1-800-LIFENET (1-800-543-3638), Spanish (1-877-AYUDESE; 1-877-298-3373), and Chinese (1-877-990-8585). For other languages, New Yorkers can call LIFENET and ask for an interpreter. The TTY number for LIFENET is (212) 982-5284. To find out more about getting screened for depression, call 311 and ask for LIFENET.

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Important Links:
Find information on screenings and other programs on depression