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San Diego County Providing Free Depression Screenings

The County of San Diego will continue a weeklong series of free depression screenings today in hopes of making the act of seeking help more convenient and less intimidating.

According to the American Society of Suicide Prevention, 90 percent of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.

"These deaths are tragic and many people suffering from depression suffer in silence,'' said Nick Macchione, director of the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. "Mental disorders are just like any other illness and need to be treated accordingly.''

Trained mental health volunteers will administer the screenings to adults throughout the remainder of week at about 20 sites around the county, said county spokesman Tom Christensen. Individuals who require immediate intervention or referral for ongoing help will be able to meet with an experienced mental health clinician, he said.

"We have to get beyond the stigma associated with mental illness and allow people to feel comfortable seeking help,'' said Alfredo Aguirre, director of the HHSA Mental Health Services. "These screenings are another way in which someone can conveniently get information on the resources that are out there.''

Three screening events were scheduled for today: 11 a.m. at the UPAC- EMASS Community Center, 200 North Ash St., in Escondido; at 1 p.m. at the Tri-City Medical Center, 4002 Vista Way, in Oceanside; and at the Santee Library, 9225 Carlton Hills Blvd. at 4 p.m.

A complete listing of screening times and locations, is available through the county's 24-hour Access and Crisis Line, which can be reached at (800) 479-3339 or online at or, or by calling 211.

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Avatar for user 'Eurobelle'

Eurobelle | October 4, 2011 at 9:19 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

oh come on...... suicide SCREENINGS? What's that going to do? Most folks are depressed nowadays because they are losing everything or not able to make ends meet. What's a screening going to do? Provide you housing, food and a job? What am I missing? Or is this again one of these charity events where the folks in charge can deduct this from their taxes and feel good about themselves for "doing something" even if it won't change a thing?

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | October 5, 2011 at 12:16 a.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Eurobelle, there is a difference between someone who is depressed over a situational matter (normal human emotion) and someone who has a chemical imbalance that triggers clinical depression.

Clinical depression is a disease, a physical ailment, and it costs our nation billions in health care and lost wages/productivity because many people don't get treatment and end up not being able to function as productive members of society due to stigma.

Knowing how backwards our county government is I am surprised they are willing to do this, but I applaud them for it.

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