College is the best time of your life.You meet so many people.You wont miss home at all.

Sound familiar?

For students starting a new year in college, expectations are high. College is supposed to be a time to meet new friends, socialize and enjoy the freedoms of living away from home.

Sometimes students dont realize that college can also be a difficult transition, and all those changes can leave them feeling anxious, angry or sad.

To help students cope, West Virginia Universitys Carruth Center for Counseling and Psychological Services is offering free, confidential screenings for depression and other emotional conditionsincluding bipolar disorder, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorderthat often go undiagnosed and are misunderstood.

The screenings will be available from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 11)National Depression Screening Dayat the Carruth Center (third floor of the Student Services Building on the Downtown Campus) and from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Gluck Theatre of the Mountainlair.

The screenings involve a brief questionnaire. Students will then have the opportunity to review the results with a Carruth Center staff member.

Every academic year, millions of students are affected by depression, anxiety or a related mental health issue,said Cathy Yura, director of the Carruth Center,yet social stigma, confusion and a simple lack of knowledge of the resources available prevent many from seeking the help they need.

No matter how perfect college life seems to be, depression can put a dark, gloomy cloud over how students see the world. It can impair their ability to sleep, eat, study and get along with others,she said.It can also damage studentsself-esteem, self-confidence and ability to accomplish everyday tasks.

If left untreated, depression can lead to suicide, the third-leading cause of death for young people, age 15-24, according to Carruth Center officials.

Even if students dont have a mood or anxiety disorder and are just going through a couple of bad days, they are invited to stop by the center or Gluck Theatre and learn about what services are available on campus. They may learn something that will help them or a friend in the future, Yura said.

Those interested in setting up a screening on another day are encouraged to call 304-293-4431. For more information, visithttp://www.wvu.edu/~cocenter/.