Google's New Quiz Helps Determine If You Should Seek Help For Depression

"Despite its prevalence, only about 50 percent of people who suffer from depression actually receive treatment."

Google just launched a resource to make it easier for people to find out whether they should seek help for depression

If you've Googled a medical health condition since 2015, you've probably noticed that the search engine provides an outline of it within the results. The outline, which Google calls a "Knowledge Panel," often displays general information about the searched condition, such as how common it is, age groups affected, common symptoms associated with it, and possible treatment options. 

Now, for those in the United States searching Google for "depression" or "clinical depression" on mobile, the Knowledge Panel will show a new key feature: "Patient Health Questionnaire-9," or PHQ-9, a clinically validated screening known in the mental health world for identifying levels of depressive symptoms. 



By tapping on "Check if you're clinically depressed," users will be directed to the built-in quiz that helps to determine their level of depression, and the need for an in-person evaluation. The first question reads, "Over the past two weeks, how often have you been bothered by the following problem?: Little interest or pleasure in doing things." Users can respond by tapping "not at all," "several days," "more than half the days," or "nearly every day." After responding to all nine questions, the quiz will indicate a user's level of depression, what that level means, and how to find relief. 

The results may help to inspire more people to seek treatment and to have a more informed discussion with a medical professional when they do. Google promises to keep all answers confidential. 

"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. To help raise awareness of this condition, we've teamed up with Google to help provide more direct access to tools and information to people who may be suffering," Mary Giliberti, CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Health, wrote on Google's blog. "Clinical depression is a treatable condition which can impact many aspects of a person's life. The PHQ-9 can be the first step to getting a proper diagnosis."

Google and the National Alliance on Mental Health hope launching this feature will help to educate people and encourage them to seek treatment more quickly. However, it's important to note that your score on this quiz is not a medical diagnosis. Instead, people should talk to their doctors about their scores and how they may impact their overall help. 

"While this tool can help, it's important to note that PHQ-9 is not meant to act as a singular tool for diagnosis," Giliberti wrote.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with mental health issues, there are a number of resources available to provide support. Check them out here. 

Cover image via Unsplash

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