Attention college counseling centers: National Depression Screening Day works. In fact, according to research by John C. Okiishi, PhD, a staff psychologist at Brigham Young University's counseling center, the event can catch some of the most troubled and hard-to-reach students.
Okiishi, who presented his findings at APA's 2007 Annual Convention, studied the National Depression Screening Day as a way to gauge whether the event was worth his center's time and resources. Each year, Brigham Young's counseling center screens 200 to 250 students during the event-held on Oct. 11 this year-usually adding about 50 new clients to an already-full client roster.
But when Okiishi looked at how these screening day clients stack up against students who come to the center for depression on their own or through referrals, he found that the screened students were more seriously distressed than the center's typical clients.
Screening day clients were also in therapy an average of three sessions longer than typical clients, Okiishi noted, and the extra sessions paid off: They tended to improve more than the center's typical clients. But that's to be expected, Okiishi added, since the screened students also needed more mending to begin with.
What's more, the screening day drew far more men than the center normally does, said Okiishi, who explained that depressed men tend to be tough to reach during their college years.
"For us, it appears that National Depression Screening Day works, it works well, and it brings in folks who normally wouldn't come in," said Okiishi.