If you live in the U.S. and search for “clinical depression” or “depression” on your mobile device, be sure that Google will now bring up to you the PHQ-9, a clinically validated test questionnaire to check what your likely level of depression may be or mentally ill. If so, Google will provide you with insights.
“The goal is to allow people to determine if they need an in-person assessment and if so, provide them with insights that can lead to a more informed and effective conversation with their physician,” write Mary Giliberti, CEO of NAMI, in a blog post on Google.
According to Giliberti, one in five Americans may experience depression at list once in their lifetime. But, only half of those people seek therapy. Furthermore, she added in her blog post; statistics show most of those people wait between six to eight years after the first onset of symptoms before searching for treatment.
NAMI wanted to use Google to increase the proportion of U.S. citizens who seek help for depression.
The PHQ-9 asks questions such as whether you have “trouble concentrating on things” or have “little interest or pleasure in doing things.”
According to Giliberti “Mental health professionals often refer to the major depressive disorder as clinically significant depression or clinical depression. Clinical depression is a treatable condition that can impact many aspects of a person’s life. The PHQ-9 can be the first step to getting a proper diagnosis.”
“We believe that awareness of depression can help empower and educate you, enabling quicker access to treatment,” she said.
While Google may have good intentions, Dr. Moriah Kaplan, the head of Dear Lili, which provides psychology consulting online said: “The PHQ-9 is a very good tool to define for depressive symptoms. But it is effective only if there is actual follow-up care.” Dr. Kaplan added that it’s important that people who take the questionnaire will also see a mental health professional.