Google Search Could Help Diagnose Depression

Google is now offering a medically validated questionnaire to help people that may be suffering from depression recognize they need help.

Starting today in the U.S., people that search for “clinical depression” or related words on their phone will see a Knowledge Panel that now presents a new option: check if you’re clinically depressed.

The anonymous screening tool—called PHQ-9—contains nine multiple choice questions that’ll test for someone’s likely level of depression.

The search giant partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to develop the tool and raise awareness of the common mental health condition. While one in five Americans will suffer from depression at some point in their life, only half will seek professional help and treatment.

National Alliance on Mental Illness’s CEO Mary Giliberti said the questionnaire results can help someone have a more informed conversation with their doctor.

“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,” Giliberti said in a Google blog post.

Accessible through a mobile phone search, the private self-assessment can help someone identify if their level of depressive symptoms calls for an in-person evaluation.

Giliberti explained they hope the tool stops people from delaying seeking treatment, which on average is stalled for six to eight years.

“We believe that awareness of depression can help empower and educate you, enabling quicker access to treatment,” she said.

It should be noted that while self-assessment tools can help someone identify a medical condition, questionnaires like PHQ-9 can’t solely be relied on for proper diagnosis.