Everyone gets in a sad mood sometimes, but what happens when that sad mood lasts for a long time? Is it just a mood or is that sadness actually depression?
Many people don’t know whether what they’re feeling is a passing phase or actual depression that should be treated. They may not know where to turn to find out if they should get medical help to deal with their feelings.
Google is trying to change that by helping people identify whether what they’re feeling is clinical depression. The company has teamed up with the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) to offer a questionnaire to people who search for “depression” on Google.
According to NAMI in a Google blog, “Clinical depression is a very common condition—in fact, approximately one in five Americans experience an episode in their lifetime. However, despite its prevalence, only about 50 percent of people who suffer from depression actually receive treatment.”
Google is offering a questionnaire that can help people recognize whether they’re suffering from clinical depression. The questionnaire will be offered to people who search for “depression” or “clinical depression” using Google on a mobile device.
The search results will show a Knowledge Panel about depression with a link to a quiz to see whether you’re experiencing symptoms of clinical depression.
The quiz is called Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), a clinically tested questionnaire that’s used in the medical community to help assess depression in patients. While only a medical professional can diagnose clinical depression, PHQ-9 can be a starting point to help people know whether to seek treatment.
NIMA explains, “We hope that by making this information available on Google, more people will become aware of depression and seek treatment to recover and improve their quality of life.”
Using the Depression Quiz on Google
To take the quiz, search for “depression” in Google on a phone or tablet. The results should show a Knowledge Panel with an explanation about clinical depression. Below the explanation is a panel that says, “-> Check if you’re clinically depressed.”
Tap that panel to begin taking the quiz. According to Google, completing it takes about five minutes.
Tap the “Get Started” button to begin the quiz. You’ll be asked multiple choice questions. At the end you will see the results page with a score from 0 to 27, indicating the likelihood you have symptoms of clinical depression.
The results page also suggests options for what to do next, based on the results of the quiz.
What Else You Need to Know
PHQ-9 was developed for adults, not children.
The questionnaire is available on Google search results only on mobile devices, not on computers. If you search on your computer, you will see the knowledge panel, but not the link to PHQ-9.
If you want to search for “depression” using your computer, or don’t have access to the quiz on your mobile device, you can find the quiz by searching for “PHQ-9” on Google. Also, see below for other ways to assess depression.
By taking this quiz on Google, you’ll be revealing information about yourself to Google, if you are logged into your Google account.
Google says that the answers to the quiz will remain confidential. Google’s privacy statement appears before the quiz:
Other Ways to Assess Sadness Versus Depression
There are other tech tools to assess whether you are suffering from depression. Here are some of them:
The PHQ-9 quiz is also available at the patientinfo.com website. You can take the quiz and see the results on the 0-27 scale to assess whether you suffer from depression.
Mental Health America (MHA) also offers an online depression test. (After you take the test, MHA asks for some demographic information about you, but you can skip that part by clicking on “Submit” without answering any of the questions.) You’ll see the results after you take the test, with a recommendation of what to do next.
The free Depression Test app for Android by Japps Medical also uses the PHQ-9 questionnaire to help assess clinical depression. The app also gives users a severity score based on their symptoms of depression. As with all apps, be sure to read the Permissions section before downloading this app.
Psychology Today has a depression test you can take online. Their test lasts about 20 minutes and gives you a snapshot report that includes a summary and a graph. If you want a full report, you will have to pay $4.95.
Do you like the idea of Google offering a depression quiz in its search results? Do you think this quiz will help people become more aware of depression?
Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!
*Depressed man image courtesy of Sander van der Wel via Flickr and Creative Commons
**Reaching for help image courtesy of Alexander Lam via Unsplash and Creative Commons