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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
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Page updated Dec 9, 2008 3:47 PM
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  December 9, 2008   


Alexandria Community Services Board Offers Online Mental Health and Alcohol Screenings

Tips for Coping with Holiday Stress also Available 

For some, the holidays are a time packed with celebrations and social gatherings. For others, the season is one filled with sadness, loneliness and anxiety. For many, it is a stressful time of the year.

To help City residents cope, the Alexandria Community Services Board is offering free, anonymous mental health and alcohol use self-assessments (screenings) online. Visit alexandriava.gov/mhmrsa to complete simple online questionnaires. Users will receive immediate, customized feedback and if necessary, information about scheduling an appointment for further evaluation.

Both depression and alcohol abuse are common, yet serious, illnesses that affect more than 30 million Americans each year. Sometimes a stressful event—such as the holiday season—can trigger depression or problem drinking. 

Warning signs for depression include having a shorter temper than normal, sleep problems, losing interest in activities one normally enjoys, and overreacting to minor annoyances. For alcohol abuse, the primary warning sign is that an individual continues to drink, despite recurrent negative consequences. 

When untreated, depression and alcohol abuse can take a terrible toll, and can lead to disability, isolation, dependency, and even suicide. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it is important to get help as soon as possible.

The Community Services Board also recognizes that the holidays may cause added stress for many this year due to anxieties about the economy. English and Spanish versions of the brochure, Coping with Holiday Stress, are full of helpful tips for adults and children. Downloadable versions of the brochures are available at alexandriava.gov/mhmrsa.

For additional information,call Tricia Bassing at 703.838.6400, ext. 155, or e-mail tricia.bassing@alexandriava.gov.