October 10 is National Depression Screening Day. At Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels, we’re looking for the signs of depression in our clients every day.
The PHQ 9 Patient Health Questionnaire is used in medical offices and other facilities across the country to identify signs of depression. YMOW uses that same questionnaire as part of our clients’ regular six-month assessments.
“This screening has proven to be an effective tool in identifying symptoms of depression, which can easily be misidentified in older adults,” said Bethany Burge, YMOW Director of Clinical Services. Bethany said older adults who are depressed often appear irritable or anxious rather than sad. In addition to feelings of loss or sadness, the PHQ 9 screening looks for symptoms such as change in appetite or sleep patterns, which could be signs of depression.
In addition to regular screening, YMOW helps clients who are depressed get the help they need by partnering with Happy@Home, a pilot program through the University of Michigan School of Social Work. Part 1 of Happy@Home trains caregivers to spot the signs of depression in older adults. Part 2 enlists an online program to help them feel better.
Part 2 has yet to begin, but by completing Part 1 of the program training, YMOW’s Client Care Associates and staff members are better equipped to identify clients who might be in need of help. If a client shows signs of depression, YMOW’s social worker follows up with a wellness call. That visit may lead to further referrals for care.
“Depression screening is another tool in our ongoing effort to help our clients live healthier, happier lives in the comfort of their own home,” said Alison Foreman, YMOW executive director.
YMOW provides up to two meals a day for homebound residents of the Ypsilanti area. Every meal delivery doubles as a friendly visit. Sometimes that’s all someone needs to be reminded they are not alone. But when that’s not enough, YMOW is there to help.
Do you or someone you know have signs of depression? Find out here.