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Google Search for 'Depression' Now to Provide Screening Test

HealthDay News

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THURSDAY, Aug. 24, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Web search giant Google is partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to make depression screening a part of a search for 'depression' on the site.

In a Google blog post, the company said: "Now when you search for 'clinical depression' on Google on mobile, you'll see a Knowledge Panel that will give you the option to tap 'check if you're clinically depressed,' which will bring you to the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), a clinically validated screening questionnaire to test what your likely level of depression may be." The results in themselves are not a diagnosis, but can be taken to a doctor for a more proper assessment.

Google is partnering with NAMI to help ensure that the questionnaire "is accurate and useful," the company added. In their own news release, NAMI noted that about one in every five Americans will experience an episode of depression in their lifetime, but only half actually get treated. "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," NAMI said.

The Knowledge Panel that pops up on the Google search provides information on the signs and potential treatments for depression. And, "by tapping 'Check if you're clinically depressed,' you can take this private self-assessment to help determine your level of depression and the need for an in-person evaluation. The results of the PHQ-9 can help you have a more informed conversation with your doctor," NAMI said. According to the group, people with depression commonly wait an average of six to eight years before they get treatment. "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," NAMI said.

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