Google has introduced the ability for users to screen themselves for depression by adding the option to take a questionnaire when they search for information on the condition.
“The new feature, which Google spokeswoman Susan Cadrecha says ‘will be fully rolled out on mobile in the US over the next day or so,’ isn’t meant to subvert a medical evaluation. It’s meant to steer you to one if you appear depressed,” reported The Verge on Wednesday. “When you Google ‘depression’ in the US, you will see a box atop the results on mobile, which Google calls a Knowledge Panel.”
“The box contains information on what depression is, what its symptoms are, and possible treatments. The update adds the option to tap on ‘check if you’re clinically depressed’ and take a clinically validated screening questionnaire called PHQ-9,” they continued. “The self-assessment is private and is meant to help steer people who might be depressed toward in-person evaluations.”
In a blog post, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, who has partnered with Google for the digital screening, claimed, the PHQ-9 “can be the first step to getting a proper diagnosis.”
“Statistics show that those who have symptoms of depression experience an average of a 6-8 year delay in getting treatment after the onset of symptoms. We believe that awareness of depression can help empower and educate you, enabling quicker access to treatment,” declared Alliance CEO Mary Giliberti. “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. 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.”