NORWALK - Friday was National Depression Screening Day, and local mental health professionals treated residents for free.

Dr. Norma Kirwin, director of Bennett Behavioral Health Center, has new patients fill-out a confidential questionnaire when they first arrive, which includes 10 questions about a patient?s energy level, feelings of worthlessness or blame and general sadness.

?There are a number of signs,? Kirwin says. ?Sad mood, tearfulness, people report lacking pleasure in things."

Kirwin, among other medical professionals, is encouraged by the success of treatments like therapies and antidepressant medications.

?It's not really a weakness, it's a strength to get the help you need," Lawson Smith, of Fairfield, says.

Kirwin encourages people who are experiencing the symptoms of depression, or who have friends or family members who may be suffering, to get medical attention, rather than try to tackle the problems on their own.