McLean Offers Free Depression Screening on Oct. 11

One woman shares her struggle with depression in an effort to encourage others to seek help

September 27, 2007

Laura Neves
Public Affairs

Belmont, MA - On National Depression Screening Day, Thursday, Oct. 11, Harvard affiliate McLean Hospital will conduct free depression screenings for adults from 1 pm to 2 pm to help individuals identify whether they may have depression and what steps they need to take to obtain proper treatment.

"Depression affects more than 20 million Americans each year, but the good news is that depression is treatable," says Joseph Gold, MD, chief medical officer for McLean Hospital. "I encourage anyone who thinks they, a loved one or a friend may have signs of depression to attend a screening."

Evie Barkin also hopes that people will take advantage of the free screenings because she knows firsthand what it is like to go through life feeling depressed.

"Even as a child, I remember feeling down and I could not comprehend what it was like to be happy," says Barkin. "The simple things that many of my friends took pleasure in just did not have the same affect on me."

Barkin says it was not until she was in her mid 20s that she understood that her feelings were caused by bipolar disorder, an illness characterized by extreme swings in mood, energy, and ability to function. She sought medical treatment and shortly after beginning a regimen of medication and therapy, she felt the "veil of darkness" lift.

"At the time, I had no idea what it meant to be happy and to enjoy life," says Barkin. "Once I started treatment, I could not believe how good it felt to get up in the morning looking forward to the day. My mood transformation was truly amazing."

Today, Barkin is a mental health advocate who speaks regularly about her illness in hopes of helping others. She is also the co-founder of The Jonathan O. Cole Mental Health Consumer Resource Center, a free program that offers information and support to individuals with psychiatric disorders.

"There is no reason for people to live under the cloak of depression," says Barkin. "Help is available."

"Evie is a wonderful example of how proper treatment for depression can dramatically change a personís life," says Gold. "Attending a depression screening can be the first step toward getting help and taking control of the illness." According to Gold, some of the common signs of depression include:

The confidential depression screenings include a written self-test, an educational presentation and a one-on-one interview with a McLean health professional to review screening results.

For more information on the free McLean screenings, call 617.855.2323. To locate the screening site closest to you, visit

McLean Hospital is the largest psychiatric facility of Harvard Medical School, an affiliate Massachusetts General Hospital, and a member of Partners HealthCare.

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