Service offers depression and anxiety screening

The free screening is open to University students, staff and faculty members.

by Jamie VanGeest

Students who are struggling with depression and anxiety can get on-campus help at no charge.

On Thursday, University Counseling and Consulting Services will offer free depression and anxiety screenings at its East Bank and St. Paul campus locations.

“We are hoping students who are struggling with anxiety and depression will come and get screened,” said Cynthia Fuller, associate counselor at UCCS.

The screening will be on the East Bank in 302 Eddy Hall from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and at the St. Paul campus in 199 Coffey Hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Symptoms of depression and anxiety are similar, so it is easy to test for both in one brief screening, Fuller said.

The screening is open to all University students, staff members and faculty members. Community members in the area are also encouraged to participate.

The entire process will maintain the person’s anonymity. Those who undergo the screening will be assigned random numbers, which will be announced when it is their turn to be screened, Fuller said.

Participants will take a brief paper test and will have their results reviewed by a UCCS counselor.

The counselor will then sit with the individual privately to discuss results and make recommendations for treatment if the person demonstrates symptoms of depression or anxiety, Fuller said.

Jeff Barthel, a journalism student and former Minnesota Daily employee, said he dropped out of Bethel College, now Bethel University, because of an anxiety disorder.

“I think it’s a good thing they have this for students,” Barthel said.

Barthel said he treated his anxiety through his faith and also saw a psychologist.

Jennifer Engler, program director for UCCS, said the depression screenings have had a consistent turnout through the years.

UCCS has also seen growth in the number of students using its services in the past year.

During the 2004-2005 school year, UCCS saw a 9 percent increase compared with the previous school year, in the number of students coming in for general counseling.

The most common concerns students brought to UCCS were depression, relationship difficulties, academic problems, difficulties choosing a major or career direction and interpersonal skills.

The number of students coming in for crisis counseling increased 16 percent during the past academic year.

For students who are experiencing a crisis, UCCS offers walk-in hours periodically throughout the day.

Some common concerns students brought in for crisis counseling included suicidal feelings, severe anxiety and issues related to sexual assault.