Users searching for “depression” on Google will be redirected to a questionnaire that aims to asses if they may be suffering from the illness
Google partneres with US National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to develop this project that is currently available for US users only.
Those searching for depression will be asked to “check if you’re clinically depressed.”
“While this tool can help, it’s important to note that PHQ-9 is not meant to act as a singular tool for diagnosis,” NAMI said
Moreover, it added that the test should not be seen as a replacement for qualified mental health professionals, but rather as a method to help people get help more quickly.
“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 organisation explained.
“The results of the PHQ-9 can help you have a more informed conversation with your doctor.”
The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 includes nine questions regarding the subject’s mental health. It asks questions such as:
- How often do you feel you have “little interest or pleasure in doing things”?
- How often do you have trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television?”
Studies have come to the conclusion that this is a concise, reliable way to detect signs of clinical depression.
Furthermore, Google said that those who fill out the test won’t have their answers logged by the company, and advertising won’t target them as a result.
On the other hand, one psychotherapist said that the idea seemed “terribly redundant.”
Dr. Aaron Balick, author of “The Psychodynamics of Social Networking” argued that those searching for depression on Google will probably not find more useful information via a short diagnostic than they have already surfaced in search results.
“A better approach would be some sort of acknowledgment that the searcher may be feeling down, and offering them resources and a direct line – perhaps a chat box – to local psychological services,” he said