Free depression screening offered on campus today

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Free depression screening is available on campus today.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. outside of 2590 in the Wilkinson Center and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Cannon Center by Helaman Halls, the BYU Counseling and Psychological Services will offer free depression screenings.

“We have two stations that will be set up,” said Tom Golightly, a psychologist from the counseling center. “We’ll be giving away some free popcorn and some food, but you can also come by and take a quick screener. It will take anywhere from two to seven minutes to complete.”

Students will fill out a questionnaire, and then meet briefly with a counselor to interpret the results.

Golightly said the screenings are part of an effort to get help to students that need help, but might otherwise go without counseling.

“We don’t diagnose at a screening,” Golightly said. “What it’s showing is that you might be at risk for something, and that it may be worth it to go in for a further  assessment and some consultation. It might be at this level now, but if it’s not attended to, it might be at a much more difficult level as time progresses.”

Tyler Pedersen, another psychologist at the counseling center, said many of the students that come to the screening benefit greatly.

“Last year we probably saw 500 or 600 students and only about 60 or 70 of those ultimately wanted to come in and see someone,” Pedersen said. “It doesn’t sound like a lot, but on the other hand those are students that may never have known about us and never come.”

Pedersen said they hope to minimize the barriers that prevent students from coming in. They work to create a comfortable atmosphere in the screening location by offering food and showing videos.

“Most of the time there’s not much concern, but other times we’ll see that someone is actually struggling or having a hard time, and that enables us to give them resources and talk to them about what their options are,” Pedersen said.

Leesa Allison, a senior studying public relations, has benefited from counseling for depression in the past.

“It kind of trained you how to change your thoughts in a positive direction,” Allison said. “I think everybody should go to therapy. I don’t care if it’s depression or not. It’s nice to have someone that’s unbiased listen to you. They’re there to help, and they don’t have an agenda.”

She said going without help can make it difficult to move forward without help.

“It’s OK to talk to your own friends and family, but they have their own agenda, and their own hurt that they’re going to bring into the conversation,” Allison said. “So it’s nice to talk to someone that doesn’t have that.”

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