According to the Google blog, Google is going to offer users a test to know if they have depression when they search words related to depression or clinical depression. The process is sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), as they both intend to help users identify symptoms and if they need to seek for experts’ support.

The partnership between the American multinational technology company and NAMI was announced on Wednesday; it will bring support by letting people take the clinically validated PHQ-9 test. However, this self-administrated test is just another version from the real Patient Health Questionnaire-9, which is usually performed by doctors in person.

Image Credit: Australian National Review
Image Credit: Australian National Review

Depression is one of the most common serious mental health disorders in the world; as it makes people lose the interest in general activities. According to NAMI, depression is not about feeling sad in some moments of the day. To be diagnosed with the illness, the patient should present the symptoms “nearly every day for at least two weeks.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that a person has a 50 percent higher chance to suffer from an episode of depression if it has already suffered one before.

20 percent of the American population experiences at least one episode of depression each year and only 50 percent of people receive the appropriate treatment. According to NAMI, around 16 million US adults suffered one major depressive episode last year.

PHQ-9 will inform people if they are depressed, according to Google’s post

Google is seeking that users can present the PHQ-9 if they look for words related with depression and its symptoms. This test is a tool used by experts for screening depression, but now it will be available online. More people are going to encourage and look for help if the test certainly addresses them with the disease.

Google on its post said that they “believe that awareness of depression can help empower and educate you, enabling quicker access to treatment. And while this tool can help, it’s important to note that PHQ-9 is not meant to act as a singular tool for diagnosis.”

PHQ-9 asks users if they have been bothered with some problems over the past two weeks, or if the interest in doing any activity has decreased – no matter how pleasant it is. Some options will include “not at all,” “several days,” “more than half the days,” and “nearly every day.”

Some of the symptoms presented in a person that suffers from depression are anxiety, difficulty concentrating, loss of interest in daily activities, apathy, and mood swings. On the other hand, the depressed person can also feel physical symptoms, as lack or increased appetite – which tends to weight gain or loss -, generalized pain, insomnia, and sleepiness.

“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,” Mary Giliberti, the CEO of NAMI, wrote on the Google blog.

Source: Google Blog