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County Offers Free Screenings For Depression

Audio

Aired 10/6/10

San Diego County is offering free screenings for depression this week at 23 sites in the region. It's part of an effort to make screening for mental illness more routine.

— San Diego County is offering free screenings for depression this week at 23 sites in the region. It's part of an effort to make screening for mental illness more routine.

Health officials say one in four adults -- and one in five children -- in the county suffer from some kind of mental illness.

Depression is one of the most common forms, but it's frequently undiagnosed. Yet according to the National Institute Of Mental Health, it's one of the leading causes of disability.

Psychiatrist Michael Plopper heads up Sharp Behavioral Health Services. He says primary care doctors can give patients a simple screening for depression, but many of them don't.

"I think there's a great resistance to taking this next step," Dr. Plopper said. "I don't know that physicians really respect that phenomenon enough to actually do it. And I think they'd just rather write the prescription and wait for the result."

County health officials are urging the public to take advantage of the free depression screenings this week. Officials say referrals to care are available.

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