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Health: Help On National Depression Screening Day

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A checkup from the neck up: Mental health advocates are raising awareness today with the 25th annual National Depression Screening Day. Health reporter Stephanie Stahl has more on how it was marked in our area.

Instead of suffering alone in sadness, Todd Hopkins is now trying to reach out to others struggling with mental health issues.

"It feels sad every day," said Todd. He battled depression for 18 months before he finally got help.

Now he's a recovery advocate for the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health, which set up at LOVE Park for National Depression Screening Day.

Arthur Evans, commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health, said, "Unfortunately, so many people don't reach out for help because they are embarrassed. They are ashamed, and the reality is that people shouldn't be any more ashamed than they would if they had diabetes or a heart attack or cancer."

Understanding that all pain isn't physical, advocates are working to break the stigma linked to mental health issues, offering a checkup from the neck up. People could get information or be screened, and then be referred for help if necessary.

Beverly Mays says her son's depression started with trouble in school and bullying. "He was 10 years old and he was at school when he called me and said that he was threating to kill himself," Beverly said.

He's better now, but "it's hard, it's hard, because you never know when and you always gotta watch out for what's going on," she said.

About 80 percent of people treated for depression feel better in 4 to 6 weeks. If you need help, reach out here:

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