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Education and Empower to Reduce Stigma: National Depression Education and Awareness Month

Publication Date: Nov 01, 2021

The month of October offers a multitude of observances to reflect on the importance of education and awareness on mental illness. National Depression Education and Awareness month is observed in order to bring awareness to the importance of understanding depression and the need for accessible and affordable mental health screenings.1 Depression is a common but serious mood disorder that can impact one’s quality of life. It can cause symptoms that may impact how one thinks, feels, and handles daily activities.2 According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), 1 out of every 6 adults will have depression at some time in their life.3 Furthermore, it goes without saying that alcohol dependence and substance abuse can arise due to symptoms of depression. Research studies confirm the bidirectional relationship between mood disorders such as depression and substance use. It is reported that depressive disorders are most common among individuals suffering from Alcohol Use Disorder.4 To address these challenges, it is important to understand how educational interventions and access to mental health screenings can be essential prevention strategies to mitigate the harmful causes of depression.

Depression education and awareness work together to spark conversations encourage others to reach out and may ignite national change. Studies have concluded the importance of educational intervention centered on depression and how it can improve knowledge on this topic, thus decreasing stigma.5 Correspondingly, understanding depression, becoming aware of the signs and symptoms, and having a clear understanding of the populations at risk may lead to improved access to mental health screenings. Although depression is a common mood disorder and there are a multitude of mental health screenings available, there still may be barriers on a patient level that may reduce the effectiveness of screening for, and treating, depression.6

National depression education and awareness month in addition to the respective observances should empower prevention professionals to share programs, training, and events within and outside their respective organizations, thus bringing awareness to this topic in order to influence change.

The Central East PTTC shares The Dialogue eNewsletter September 2021 containing information and articles on addiction, mental health and prevention and is designed to inform behavioral and mental health professionals of news and upcoming events in the Central East states. Additionally, SAMHSA provides resources on evidence-based practices to inform and empower prevention professionals.


  1. October is National Depression and Health Screening month. American Behavioral Clinics. (2020, September 23). Retrieved October 5, 2021, from https://americanbehavioralclinics.com/national-depression-and-mental-health-screening-month.
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). NIMH " depression. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved October 5, 2021, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, February 15). Mental health conditions: Depression and anxiety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 5, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/diseases/depression-anxiety.html.
  4. McHugh RK, Weiss RD. Alcohol Use Disorder and Depressive Disorders. Alcohol Res. 2019;40(1):arcr.v40.1.01. Published 2019 Jan 1. doi:10.35946/arcr.v40.1.01
  5. Griffiths KM, Carron-Arthur B, Parsons A, Reid R. Effectiveness of programs for reducing the stigma associated with mental disorders. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. World Psychiatry. 2014;13(2):161-175. doi:10.1002/wps.20129
  6. Farrokhi F, Beanlands H, Logan A, Kurdyak P, Jassal SV. Patient-perceived barriers to a screening program for depression: a patient opinion survey of hemodialysis patients. Clin Kidney J. 2017;10(6):830-837. doi:10.1093/ckj/sfx047