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How to Promote National Depression Screening Day®

by MindWise Innovations

The goal of National Depression Screening Day (NDSD) is to provide colleges, universities, communities, and organizations with a platform to screen for treatable and frequently co-occurring mental health disorders, including depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. In addition to screenings, NDSD also aims to connect those in need with appropriate treatment and support services both through online screenings and in-person events.

National Depression Screening Day is October 5, 2023, but can also be held any day that is convenient for your community. Schools and organizations are encouraged to customize NDSD to their own needs and goals. A great way to guarantee attendance is to incorporate the screening tool into an existing health fair or other well-attended activity.

Our best piece of advice: having a mental health screening tool may not be enough to ensure that your community will use it if they need it. A little legwork in planning a screening event can go a long way in educating your community about how the screening tool works, how to find it, and making them aware of other mental health support systems in your ecosystem.

Here are a few ways to start planning your screening event:


1) Select the date, hours of operation, staff, and location (if not virtual) for your event.

  • Host your program in areas with heavy student or pedestrian traffic. If you have available staff, set up more than one event location.
  • Partner with student groups, faculty, volunteers, hospitals, or other mental health-related organizations
  • Consider having a guest speaker talk about his/her experience with overcoming depression or anxiety.
  • Get ideas and tips from our guidebook on How to Promote a Mental Health Screening Event 


2) Plan how you’ll promote the event – whether virtual or in-person.  

  • Discuss placing materials like posters, flyers, and stickers community-wide during the week of the event.
  • Use social media, email, digital billboards, and website ads to promote the event.
  • Create QR codes for people to scan to take a screen or have your screening site easily accessible on iPads or laptops.
  • If virtual, send out emails and social posts with links to the screening event.
  • Set a screening goal to encourage people to participate and spread the word to friends and peers.


3) Make sure the services and referral information in your screening tool are up to date.

  • Your screening tool provides a list of mental health support resources at the end of the screening. Take a moment to make sure that information is up to date for your community.
  • Consider resources that are available both inside and outside your school or organization, including links to helpful educational materials, school counseling office phone numbers, national sites, and local hospitals or mental health resources.
  • Be sure to test links and phone numbers before the day of your screening event – this ensures people have easy access to further support if they need it.


4) Prepare utilization reports.

  • Routinely monitor screening use through your reporting access to ensure people are able to take the screens, understand which screens are most popular, and be able to provide your teams a heads up if any resource offices might see an influx in traffic.
  • You can learn more about how the screening tool reporting features work by clicking here.


Helpful Resources

  • Your screening site reporting tools can be found here.
  • You can learn more about how to use the reporting features in Tableau by clicking here.
  • Get more information about the importance of depression screening in this blog post.
  • Read an in-depth guide to planning your own screening event in this guidebook.
  • Learn how to create a QR code for your screening site in this blog post.
  • Read about the success of Harvard University’s screening event in this case study.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in Sept 2014 and has been edited and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Some of the topics we cover can be difficult. For free and confidential support, call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or text the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

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Check out more blog content on behavioral health, suicide prevention, and trauma-informed approaches.