Friday, February 23, 2007

The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale

This scale was developed to assess depressive symptoms in women after birth, but I think it's one of the most straightforward and easy-to-use screening tools for depression--for anyone!--I've ever come across. If someone you know seems to be suffering from increased irritability, lethargy, social withdrawal or fatigue, please encourage them to take this 5 minute test (and disregard the title if the person is not a new mom!) A score of 12 or higher suggests that problems with depression are having a significant negative impact on one's quality of life.

We probably all know someone who went undiagnosed and untreated for depression. There's no way of telling just how many people suffer needlessly from this illness, though it's fairly safe to assume that the number is well into the millions. With depression, a good offense is a good defense. Being alert to changes in our loved ones' moods--as well as our own--is a good first step in ensuring that no one suffers needlessly from this illness.

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