By Bonnie Adams, Government Editor
Westborough – The economy appears to be on a slow upswing. But there are still too many people, including children, who are hurting emotionally.
As part of its outreach to residents, the Westborough Youth and Family Services (WYFS) will once again be participating in the annual National Depression Screening Day, which this year will be held on Thursday, Oct. 11. WYFS will be holding the event in conjunction with the Assabet Valley Pastoral Counseling Center.
Interested residents who would like to participate are asked to contact the WYFS to schedule a free, confidential screening. They will then be given an appointment time to go to the WYFS offices at the Forbes Municipal Building, 45 West Main St. At that time, they will fill out a questionnaire and then be given the opportunity to discuss their answers with a counselor.
The screening is open to residents of all ages. For children up to age 18, a parent must be present. For children up to age 13, the parent will be asked to complete the questionnaire. For children 13 and older, both the parent and child will complete questionnaires.
The entire process is completely confidential, according to Eileen Reich, one of the WYFS counselors.
“We only ask for a person's first name when they call and a phone number in case we need to reach them before the appointment,” she said. “But there are no records kept of the meeting nor will anyone call you afterwards.”
The WYFS staff all hold master's degrees and are licensed mental health counselors, Reich said.
“But [the screening] is not a substitution for mental health care but rather a way to point people in the direction of where they can find services,” she stressed.
Some of the issues the WYFS has seen over the past year include residents who are depressed because of unemployment or underemployment; students who have violated the school district's chemical health policy; single parents who are struggling; and those with chronic illnesses.
“We also help families who are new to the U.S., “Reich said. “It may be a struggle for them to adapt to a brand new culture.”
The WYFS is also offering an online mental health screening that will be available through its website until early spring. Reich explained that this tool is an interactive process where people are asked a series of questions and then given a recommendation about what type of help they might want to consider seeking.
To access the on-line screening go to www.mentalhealthscreening.org/screening/westboroughyfs.
If a resident cannot schedule a screening for Oct. 11, they may contact the WFYS office at 508-366-3090 to set up an appointment for another day, Reich said.