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San Diego County Offers Free Depression Screenings

San Diego County officials are trying to turn around a disturbing statistic: two-thirds of people who suffer from depression don't seek help.

— San Diegans can get free, anonymous screening for depression at more than 20 places throughout the region this week. It's part of the county's campaign to reduce the stigma of mental illness.

Health officials say some 19 million Americans suffer from depression. But whether it's due to stigma or other issues, about two-thirds of those affected don't seek help.

San Diegan Lilly Miller finally got treatment after being severely depressed for years.

"Oh, it's 100 percent different," she said. "I was just in a darkness, you know, a hole that I just couldn't get out of. Now I can see light. I'm independent now, I can do things for myself, I'm not always listless and with no energy, and everything like that."

Trained mental health volunteers are performing depression screenings at nearly two dozen locations countywide this week. Immediate help and referrals to treatment are available.

Counselors are also available around the clock seven days a week at the county's Crisis Hotline: (888) 724-7240.

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