October is Depression Awareness Month, and Memorial Medical Center will bring awareness for those who have depression all month long.

Chris Kovarek, the director/social worker for MMC, spoke to the Port Lavaca Wave last Tuesday about depression awareness month.

Kovarek said this month brings recognition of depression, and she added that there is a higher level of depression than people realize.

“It also an opportunity though for people if they have concerns with themselves or with a loved one to be able to get a screening done if need be,” Kovarek said.

In the age of mental illness, Kovarek talked about the importance of dealing with depression.

“In an age where people are trying to take care of themselves, sometimes mental health is one of those areas that gets overlooked,” Kovarek said.

MMC offers behavioral programs for adults 55 and over, Kovarek said, and she added MMC provides both group and individual counseling.

She added a psychiatrist is available for patients to see and said outside of MMC there are other places for counseling.

In additional information provided by Kovarek, the risk of depression is four times greater in senior adults, and the signs include anxiousness, anger, crying, confusion, and social isolation, to name a few.

Additionally, seniors account for 12 percent of the United States population, and they account for 18 percent of suicide-related deaths, according to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

MMC’s program has been active since 2014, Kovarek said, and she added there was a realization that there weren’t mental health resources specifically for older adults.

Currently, there are no programs for teens and young adults, but Kovarek didn’t rule out the possibility of consideration.

“I think if we saw that the need was there, and I don’t think it is out of the question to consider, it could be something that we can look at,” Kovarek said.

If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of depression, please contact MMC’s Program Hope for Seniors at (361) 552-0798 to receive a free, confidential health assessment.