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Annual screening event seeks awareness of clinical depression

People dealing with a disability make up a large number of those receiving social security benefits, even though many people probably think of social security only in terms of retirement. There are a range of disabilities that can qualify New Jersey residents to receive social security disability benefits, including mental conditions. Benefits related to mental conditions, such as clinical depression, can be extremely critical for those suffering from mental illness.

Despite advancements in perception and treatment of mental illness over the last several decades, there remains a general lack of understanding about certain mental conditions and the extent to which they can affect a person's life and ability to function on a daily basis. October 9 is recognized as National Depression Screening Day in an effort to increase awareness related to how clinical depression differs from occasional sadness and what potential treatments are available. Research has shown that depression can have severe effects on a person's daily life--including employment--and general health. The National Depression Screening Day advocates screening for depression, especially where in areas where there are many risk factors, such as high unemployment rates, high numbers of elderly people living alone, and high rates of substance abuse and child abuse or neglect.

There are many different qualifying mental conditions that are recognized as a disability by social security. Examples include job-related phobias, panic and anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bi-polar disorder, clinical depression, and more. These mental conditions can result in a disability when they affect a person's ability to perform his or her job adequately. Effects on a person's employment can include interference with the ability to work or widely varying work performance related to the disorder.

Once a person realizes that he or she has a mental condition that is affecting his or her employment--whether it be in terms of performance, safety or some other arena--he or she can file a claim for benefits. It is often difficult to prove that a particular condition qualifies as a disability and meets the requirements for benefits, so applicants should not be discouraged if they are initially denied and have to file an appeal.

Source:, "Oct. 9 Is National Depression Screening Day," Sept. 27, 2014

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