Today is National Depression Screening day and both YMCAs in town are offering free assessments.
From 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. in Onalaska and 4-7 p.m. in La Crosse, people can take the depression screenings offered by Gundersen Health System. No appointment needed.
The Y’s mental health director Sarah Johnson says it’s an opportunity to explore a person’s mental health and find where there are resources to turn.
It’s not a diagnosis, but it’s an important first step in getting back on track and Johnson says people sometimes feel relief at what they find in the screenings.
“Most of the time somebody’s coming in and taking the screening with kind of a vague idea or abstract idea that something is going on,” Johnson said. “It kind of confirms and can be really helpful in saying, ‘OK, this isn’t just in my head.’
“It can be an important gateway for helping people get connected with help.”
Johnson says they hope to put a dent in the stigma surrounding mental health.
“We get strange in this culture, and maybe in the world in general, about mental health,” Johnson said. “Really, we want to kind of de-mystify that and help people understand that mental health is, actually, I would say, part of our physical health.”
Along with the screenings, participants can speak with mental health providers, as well as an avenue to local resources.